MANILA, Philippines – Local hog raisers are complaining about competing with imported pork in local markets that is considerably cheaper than their produce.
“Hindi po namin kaya ang presyo ng imported. As of now, if we follow the price of imported, all of us will lose money, not only here in Luzon but in Visayas and Mindanao,” said Chester Warren Tan, president of the National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc.
Tan said they are spending huge amounts of money on buying imported feeds for their hogs.
Based on data presented by Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo during the hearing in Congress on Tuesday (August 10), the price of frozen pork ranges from P220 to P250 per kilogram in supermarkets.
“All 84 stores within the National Capital Region are participating in the Presyong Resonable dapat all frozen meat,” Castelo said.
But based on the data gathered by the Department of Agriculture (DA) from local wet markets, the price of pork ranges from P320 to P360 per kilogram.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said, once imported meat gets into the local market, the price of pork is expected to drop.
“As volume comes sa supply augmentation nga natin out of the MAV plus, itong period hanggang October nga po ay merong naka-calibrate na 140,000 metric tons. If many of these will arrive slowly it will also impact the prices of local pork,” Dar explained.
This alarms local hog raisers.
“As local producers umaasa po kami sa fresh sa wet market. Kung ang gusto po ng Department of Agriculture na mangyari is to push sa wet market yung frozen product, ano ang mangyayari sa local producers? Ibig sabihin huminto na lamang kami,” said Tan.
But the DA said there are existing programs designed to help local hog raisers.
One is the agency’s repopulation program for hog raisers affected by the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) and the DA’s P42 billion loan program.
As of August 10, only 29 barangays still have active cases of ASF in the country which is a big improvement, according to the DA.
Meanwhile, a total of 468 municipalities have been declared ASF-free. Nevertheless, Dar said the problem is still here.
“I did not claim that wala ng problema sa ASF. Meron pa rin tayo. Lingering nga. Itong ASF has contributed so much in reducing the supply and inventory,” he said.
Thus, the DA Secretary is asking Congress to provide them an additional P6.6 billion funding to help the local hog industry recover from the impact of ASF.
“Kasama of course ang Kongreso kasi kayo ang nag-approve. P1.5 billion lang. So will that be enough for repopulation? No. We need additional P6.6 billion this year,” Dar said. MNP (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)