HOG RAISERS said the industry cannot withstand the volume of pork imports due to arrive based on the volume of approved import clearances.

Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines, Inc. President Rolando E. Tambago said the volume of future imports, as indicated by the approved sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPSICs) in the eight months to August, are “too much for the hog industry to take.”  

According to the Bureau of Animal Industry, pork imports with approved SPSICs amounted to 837,955.34 metric tons (MT) as of Aug. 31, from 276,424.23 MT a year earlier.

Overall meat imports with approved SPSICs as of end-August hit 1.72 million MT, up 107% from a year earlier.

“The whole industry is worried about the huge amount of approved SPSICs. Imported pork will flood local markets and will put an additional burden on hog farmers,” Mr. Tambago said via mobile phone.

Mr. Tambago projected a surplus of pork, as per capita consumption in 2021 is 14.17 kilograms, based on an estimated population of 110 million.

He said domestic pork production for 2021 is expected at 1.32 million MT. When combined with the 837,955.34 MT approved pork imports, the surplus will be 603,260 MT due to weaker demand caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.  

“To put into perspective, our total demand or consumption for the whole year is estimated only at 1.56 million MT,” Mr. Tambago said. 

“Philippine pork per capita consumption for this year is expected to be much lower versus previous years due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Market demand is also shrinking,” he added.

As a result, Mr. Tambago urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to pay attention to the hog industry’s needs.

“Only 30% of hog production was lost (due to African Swine Fever). But why are there so many imports? I understand that the government wants to tame inflation. But their efforts should be focused on improving local production. The DA should indemnify farmers for all culled pigs affected by ASF, subsidize feed inputs to reduce production costs, and help with postharvest operations up to the marketing of produce,” Mr. Tambago said.

To address the tightening pork supply in the wake of ASF, President Rodrigo R. Duterte issued two executive orders on May that raised the minimum access volume allocation for pork imports by 200,000 MT; and decreased the tariff rates of in-quota and out-of-quota pork imports. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave