The successful visit of President Rodrigo Duterte in China plus the seeming fondness of Chinese President Xi Jinping (who will most likely see his term extended) for his Filipino counterpart would probably be good for hog raisers in the Philippines since it could open up more opportunities for business. After all, the Chinese could not survive without eating meat considering that they consume half the world’s pork. According to reports, pork accounts for 60 percent of all the meat consumed by the Chinese, and the demand has become so high that Chinese hog raisers could hardly keep up even with about 450 million pigs being raised.
Data from the US Department of Agriculture says an estimated 2.4 million tons of pork will be imported by China in 2016 alone—three times the 761,000 tons imported two years ago. The same USDA report also says the Chinese are expected to consume an estimated 54.6 million tons of pork this year.
A lot of issues have been plaguing the pork industry in China, among them the sale of contaminated meat from unscrupulous traders. It can be recalled that in 2013, a great scandal broke at the discovery of thousands of dead pigs floating along Huangpu River in Shanghai—driving fears of poisoning since the river is a major source of drinking water. Last year, 110 people were also arrested by Chinese authorities for allegedly selling “double dead” pork—you know, pigs that had died of disease and then “killed” again or slaughtered for sale. More than 1,000 tons of contaminated pork was also confiscated during the crackdown which was really just a tip of the iceberg.
Walmart China has announced the opening of a Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center in Beijing and the launch of a “blockchain” pilot project to solve the problem of contaminated pork being sold in the market. Using technology plus a team of logistics and food safety experts, the blockchain system will monitor records from batch numbers, factory and processing information, expiration dates, storage temperatures down to shipping details to make sure that pork (and other food items) sold to consumers from Walmart stores are safe and secure.
In the Philippines, local hog raisers are asking the government to help them produce pork that would be up to par with global standards. Members of the Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines Inc., or ProPork, are urging Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol to push through with the construction of a triple A (“AAA”) slaughterhouse in Bulacan to boost their chances to export pork.
A triple A slaughterhouse is one whose facilities and operations are suitable for both domestic and international markets. Slaughterhouses rated “A” are those that are appropriate for cities or municipalities while “AA” slaughterhouses can cater to the domestic market.
According to ProPork, a triple A slaughterhouse will cost an estimated P360 million-–and the establishment of such a facility in Bulacan will help producers come up with world-class pork suitable for the export market. Industry sources say that at present, there are only four triple A slaughterhouses in the country and these are operated by private companies: San Miguel-Monterey in Cavite, Sunpride Foods in Mandaue City, Nestfarms in Davao City and Matutum Meat Packing Corp. in South Cotabato.
Hopefully, hog raisers will have better chances with the current Agriculture secretary who has promised to study the proposal. During the previous administration, the construction of a triple A abattoir in Tanauan, Batangas—which is projected to process at least 250 pigs per day—was started but it has yet to be completed.
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