Traders eye options for pork importation amid African Swine Fever scare

Marje Pelayo   •   January 4, 2019   •   3437

 

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Meat Importers and Traders Association is confident of having alternative countries to import pork from amid the ongoing outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF).

However, they cannot assure that the prices will remain stable as they see a possible increase in the price of pork products in the world market.

“It could be offset by supplies from North America. So we have options,” assured Jesus Cham, president of Meat Importers and Traders Association.

Meanwhile, the agri group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) argued that since there is enough supply of local pork in the market, they see no reason for the prices of pork to go up.

“Bumaba nga ang lokal live weight price from P130/kg dati naging P120/kg so wala tayong nakikitang problema,” said SINAG chairman, Rosendo So.

Amid the ASF scare, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol asks the public to cooperate and calls on returning vacationers and overseas Filipinos workers to refrain from bringing in pork products so as not to experience inconveniences at inspection areas and to prevent the possible effect of ASF to the country’s hog industry. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

DA to release SRP on pork next week

Marje Pelayo   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to release a new suggested retail price (SRP) on pork next week alongside the implementation of increased tariff.

“We will have a new SRP based on this EO that will set the new tariffs,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.

The official added that consumers will surely benefit from the SRP and the supply of pork will be replenished through importation.

Dar added that this is just among the solutions of the government to address the impact of African Swine Fever (ASF) on the local hog industry.

Coinciding with this measure is the ingoing repopulation of hogs.

Meanwhile, the price of pork in major markets in Metro Manila remains at P340 to P400 per kilogram.

Based on the estimate of the Meat Importers and Traders Association (MITA), they can still supply pork at P320 per kilogram retail price.

This is much lower than locally produced meat even after the government’s newly imposed tariff on pork.

“Ngayon pagtaas uli ng 5% siguro baka mga P315/kg or P320/kg. Baka dyan po babagsak ang bagong SRP,” said MITA president Jess Cham.

But for the group, Samahan ng Industriyang Agrikultura (SINAG), the price of imported pork should drop further because the cost of importation is way cheaper.

The group argued that the government is losing about P13 billion on tariff thus it is just for consumers to enjoy lower price of pork meat.

“Iyong suggested retail price ng imported ay gawing P200 para at least ay pumunta doon sa consumer yung nawala na taripa,” said SINAG president Rosendo So said.

Currently, DA’s SRP on imported pork ranges from P270 per kilogram to P350 per kilogram. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

DA starts vaccine trials for African Swine Fever

Marje Pelayo   •   April 29, 2021

African Swine Fever vaccine

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI) has begun initial vaccine trials in areas previously affected by African Swine Fever (ASF).

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the trials commenced on April 23 with 10 commercial swine farms participating.

The project is in collaboration with a US vaccine company and Zoetis, a global animal health company.

Zoetis is the major collaborator of the experimental new vaccine for ASF which has prevented the virus from killing pigs in early trials in other countries.

The ASF vaccine trials will be conducted and monitored by the DA-BAI personnel and veterinarians for 84 days.

Such procedures are in line with the current protocols set by the government technical working group, the vaccine manufacturer and Zoetis Philippines, Inc.

The Agriculture chief said they are currently coordinating with the provincial veterinarians on the conduct of the vaccine trials to ensure successful implementation.

He assured that all BAI veterinarians underwent orientation and are ready for deployment.

The DA chief added that the trials in participating farms will depend on the agreement by the concerned parties, the availability of trial animals, schedule of the farm and BAI veterinarian and Zoetis representatives.

Secretary Dar is hopeful that the vaccine trials will yield positive results and finally eradicate the disease that has caused significant impact on the country’s hog industry and  loss of income for local hog raisers.

The disease also reduced hog population and supply which pushed pork prices up to the disadvantage of consumers.

“The vaccine trials complement our ongoing ‘Bantay ASF sa Barangay’ program. We consider it as the proverbial ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ that would free us from this dark episode that adversely affected our swine industry, pork supply and prices,” Secretary Dar said.

“Once proven effective, the ASF vaccine will serve as a potent tool, complementing our joint efforts with the LGUs, private sector, and hog raisers to effectively control, contain and manage the spread of the ASF, thus paving way for the industry’s faster recovery,” he said.

Price ceiling on pork, chicken stays until EO 124 lapses on April 8 — DA

Marje Pelayo   •   March 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The price ceiling on pork and chicken stays, Agriculture Secretary William Dar announced Monday (March 8).

“We will maintain it in the remaining days until April 8, as prescribed under E0 124,” the DA chief added.

Dar said the price ceiling has undeniably contributed to taming the price surge of said two main food items, benefiting millions of Filipino consumers.

“Lifting it will undeniably result in dramatic rise in prices of pork and chicken, given that the  African Swine Fever (ASF) crisis is still raging and thus continues to impact on local production of hogs nationwide,” he stressed.

“That is why we need to augment the current shortfall, estimated at 400,000 metric tons this year, from ASF-free countries,” he added.

On the suggestion of hog raisers to raise the price ceiling, he said it would be a redundant measure given that actual average pork and chicken prices are higher than the ceiling imposed by EO 124.  

EO 124 will lapse on April 8, barely a month from now. 

“By maintaining it, the government will send a strong signal to Filipino consumers — who suffer from lower incomes due to the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our economy — that it does care about their welfare,” Dar said.

“Hog producers, wholesalers, and retailers are no less expected to do their share in helping the country’s economic recovery effort,” he added

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