Industry players, farmers, and consumers are united in opposing the increase in the Minimum Access Volumen (MAV) allocation of pork imports, saying that further importation will not address the African Swine Fever and steadily rising costs of pork products.
“It is more than obvious now that the DA’s rehabilitation of the hog industry is only for show. Its ultimate objective is to deluge the local market with imported pork at the expense of local hog raisers, farmers, and consumers. Over importation will seal the coffin of the dying domestic hog industry that has registered more than P56-billion in losses since ASF struck. Malacanang must stop using food security and pork supply stabilization as excuses to implement excessive pork importation. Malalaking traders at importers lang ang natutuwa sa ginagawa ng gobyerno na importasyon ng baboy,” according to former DAR secretary Rafael Mariano, chairperson of Anakpawis and KMP.
Post-Holy Week, consumers have noticed an average of P30 to 40 per kilo increase for kasim and liempo, or almost P400 per kilo in many markets. This is despite the enforced price ceiling of P270 per kilo for kasim and P300 per kilo for liempo. The 60-day price ceiling imposed by the Department of Agriculture will end on April 8.
Except for chicken, duck, and lamb, all other meat imports including pork, increased for the first quarter this year or a 21 percent increase or equivalent to 243,108.89 MT. Pork imports for Q1 totaled 110,419.40 MT or an increase of 150.7 percent from the same period last year. Increasing the pork import MAV by 350,000 MT from the current 54,210 MT to 404,210 MT is equivalent to a staggering 645 percent hike. Malacanang said President Duterte ordered Congress to approve the expansion of MAV allocation for pork imports. The economic cluster is pushing for the reduction in quota tariffs for pork imports from 30 percent to 5 percent. KMP describes the MAV increase and pork import tariff reduction as a double-whammy to the hog industry.
KMP said Congress must earmark at least P5-billion for the rehabilitation of the local hog and chicken industries. In lieu of increasing the MAV, livestock stakeholders are proposing for a 7-point program to address the problems of the hog industry:
Stop over importation
Sufficient aid and economic relief for ASF-affected hog raisers
Production subsidies worth P15,000 for farmers and food producers
Sufficient budget for the development of domestic agriculture
Address the ASF problem
Support and assistance to livestock and poultry raiser associations.
Stop liberalization of PH agriculture