Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) is urging the Department of Agriculture to arrest the dumping of frozen pork in wet markets.
The group lamented that an increase in the importation of agricultural produce had slowly killed the industry.
Meanwhile, as the price cap on pork products goes on its second week, Senator Francis Pangilinan urged the DA to focus its initiatives to overcome the effects of the African swine flu (ASF) on backyard hog-raisers.
“We welcome DA’s P500 million worth of interest-free loans payable in three to five years, initially set aside by its Agricultural Credit and Policy Council (ACPC) for backyard hog-raisers,” said the former Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization.
DA seemed to be reluctant to go after importers dumping frozen pork into wet markets, amid the implementation of a price cap per kilogram of P270 for kasim and pigue, and P300 for liempo.
Retailers are forced to stop selling, or are with no option but to sell frozen meat.
SINAG, in a statement, slammed Agiculture Secretary William Dar’s leadership for the reduction of pork and rice tariffs, and the opening of the minimum access volume (MAV) allocation for pork imports and the flooding of frozen meat in wet markets.
“This is not only illegal; but poses food safety risks and public health concerns while the country is still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic,” it noted.
As of Feb. 15, DA’s price monitoring, the prevailing prices of pork ham (kasim) in the National Capital Region were recorded at P270 per kilogram, and P320 for liempo.
Earlier, DA blamed the typhoons in the last quarter of 2020 and the African swine fever outbreak for the rspike in prices of agricultural goods.
But he said the government should be more aggressive and proactive in rolling out availment of this credit line.
Pangilinan also asked that the lending process be made easier so that more small-scale hog-raisers can avail themselves of the credit facility.
With P27 billion allocated for commercial hog-raisers, Pangilinan suggested a much bigger credit allocation for backyard hog-raisers.
Citing the Bureau of Animal Industry’s swine inventory as of January 2018, Pangilinan said this credit allocation was disproportionate to the almost two heads produced by backyard hog-raisers for every head produced by commercial hog-raisers.
“They have more contribution in pork supply and they need this loan,”he said.
He related that many of the farmers were also raising pigs, chickens and other animals to supplement their earnings from agriculture.
“They will be the first to benefit from this government loan.”
In the launch of its twin programs of national hog repopulation and “Bantay sa ASF sa Barangay” over the weekend, DA announced that Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines are also allocating P15 billion and P12 billion, respectively, for lending to commercial hog-raisers. DA also said its Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation was providing hog-raisers insurance coverage for ASF-culled hogs at P10,000 each.
The Philippine swine industry, which is worth about P200 billion a year, has been hit by the African swine flu (ASF) since 2019.
Aside from hog-raisers suffering from huge income losses as millions of their pigs are culled, consumers also have to deal with high pork prices. Lack of supply has also affected traders and market vendors.
Pangilinan, who believes that agriculture can be an engine of growth, said farmers usually augment their income with hog-raising and poultry and have been affected by the ASF.