As the 60-day price ceiling on pork ends today, April 8, the Duterte government and the Department of Agriculture chose to abandon local pork producers by approving the expansion of the Minimum Access Volume of pork imports from 54,210 MT to 404, 210 MT or equivalent to an additional 350,000 MT pork imports. Over importation of fresh, chilled, and frozen pork will not lower pork prices. Consumers also prefer to buy fresh swine meat fresh from retailers and markets, according to KMP.
Duterte issued Executive Order 128 that reduces the tariff of fresh, chilled, and frozen pork meat from the current 30 percent to a negligible 5 percent. As if adding insult to injury, the government favored importation over strengthening of local production,” according to former DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano, KMP’s chairman emeritus.
“Sa halip na dinggin ang panawagan ng local producers para sa ayuda at pagpapalakas sa produksyon, importasyon at mababang taripa sa import ang sagot ng DA at gobyerno. Talagang bingi at hindi nakakaintindi ang DA,” Mariano said, adding that it’s high time for agri secretary William Dar to resign for his callous response to the ASF problem.
Mariano asserts that while local hog raisers are unanimous on their position opposing MAV expansion and tariff reduction, the DA and Malacanang chose to favor big importers. Dadagsa sa merkado ang pork imports na nauna nang nailantad na may malaking ‘tongpats’ na pinakikinabangan ng importers at mga kurakot sa DA at gobyerno.
The KMP leader said tariff reduction will also translate to foregone revenues for the government equivalent to P13.95-billion. The government and the public are at a losing end. Mga importers lang ang masaya dito.
KMP supports the urgent demand of hog raisers for the much-needed funds for repopulation and indemnification. The government must provide aid to hog raisers affected by the ASF.
The farmers’ group said William Dar is too inept and can only provide chest freezers as cold storage for imported frozen pork. DA said it will distribute 2,500 chest freezers with a capacity of 150 kilos each at P18,000 per unit. ###
(Photo from Inquirer Business)