Marcos rejects pork imports – Manila Standard

Senator Imee Marcos warned that importation might kill the local pork industry faster than African Swine Fever as she asked the Department of Agriculture to start its probe of the hoarding of pork products.

Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on economic affairs, said the hoarding might be causing an artificial hike in market prices amid the spread of ASF, particularly in Luzon.

She called on the government to prevent pork importers from taking over local market supply and pushing Filipino producers out of business.

Marcos’s Senate Resolution 619 calling the government’s consumer price arbiters to an inquiry will be taken up in a joint hearing of the committees on agriculture, food and agrarian reform and trade, commerce and entrepreneurship on Monday.

She said importation amid the COVID-19 pandemic meant more local jobs would be lost and would be surrendering the country’s food security to foreigners.

She said many local hog raisers had shut down their business.

Prices of pork imports from the United States, Canada, Spain, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Brazil suggested excessive profits were being made at the expense of consumers.

Marcos said the import cost of a 40-foot container of frozen pork belly (liempo) from Spain was P117.87 per kilo, already including a 40 percent tariff.

“Compare that to its market price of as much as P450 per kilo. Even if you add cold chain, storage and outlet delivery costs, the meat importer’s costs would only amount to about P153 per kilo,” Marcos said.

Besides arresting hoarders and profiteers, Marcos said the government could also bring down meat prices by subsidizing the cost of transporting pork products to Luzon, which imports about 80 percent of its supply from the Visayas and Mindanao.

The slaughter of local hog raisers, she said, would begin if the DA executed its plan to raise the minimum access volume of pork imports by as much as three times the present 54,000 metric tons.

“The DA may be overcompensating in its rush to increase imports to reduce consumer prices,” she said.

“It may deal the coup de grace to our pork industry before Vietnam could release a vaccine against African swine fever later this year,” Marcos added.

Furthermore, Marcos pointed out that the DA got the single biggest item for emergency and stimulus funding under Bayanihan 2, amounting to P24 billion.

“DA’s spending must be investigated, as well as the failure of the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) to implement its suggested retail prices,” Marcos said.

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