Negros Occidental Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena said Tuesday, May 4, Executive Order No. 128, that cuts tariffs and increases the volume of imported pork, will kill the hog industry.
Under EO 128, the tariff on imported pork was reduced to 5 to 10 percent from 20 to 30 percent in the first three months of its implementation and 10 percent in the fourth to 12th month, while the total volume of pork to be imported was increased to 350,000 metric tons from 54,000.
Decena said the prices of pork have drastically dropped in Manila after the order was implemented in March, from P440 per kilo to P270/k.
It also initially brought down the prices of liveweight in the province at that time, from P150 per kilo to P120/k, he added.
Currently, prices of liveweight in the province are at P150-160 per kilo, he said.
He said the province is sympathizing with the local hog raisers, as the implementation of EO 128 will kill the industry.
At least 14 national organizations of farmers, hog raisers, consumers, veterinarians, agricultural workers, in a statement issued Tuesday, May 4, called on the government to repeal the EO.
“There is no need to lower tariffs because importers are already making a lot of money under the original tariff rates. If import tariffs are reduced, the wholesale price for pork will go down and directly affect farmgate prices, but consumers will not automatically benefit because traders and importers may just pocket the additional profits, as what happened after the rice sector was liberalized,” they said.
Signing the statement were Rafael Mariano, representing Anakpawis party-list and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas; Rico Geron of Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Phils. (AGAP) party-list; Nicanor Briones of the Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines Inc.; Elias Jose Inciong, United Broilers Association of the Philippines (UBRA); Danilo Ramos of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP); Chester Warren Tan of National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc.; Antonio Flores of Unyong ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura; Cathy Estavillo Bantay Bigas and AMIHAN National Federation of Peasant Women; Leonardo Montemayor of Federation of Free Farmers; Joji Co of Philippine Confederation of Grains Association and Reggie Vallejos of SUKI Network; Reggie Vallejos of SUKI Consumers Network; Roger Navarro of Phil Maize Federation, Inc.; and Eugenio Mende of Philippine Veterinary Drug Association.
They stressed that the Filipino hog raisers already suffered at least P56 billion worth of losses due to the African swine fever as at least 3 million hogs were culled.
“The sector also continues to accrue losses as ASF continues to affect 2,425 barangays, and community quarantines that restrict economic activity remain in place. As lapses in biosecurity measures also persist, such as the lack of first-border inspection facilities, the risk of furthering ASF infection from imported or smuggled pork, threatens ongoing efforts in curbing its spread,” the statement said.
Filipino hog raisers will be directly affected by the deluge of cheap imports at such a crucial time, they stressed.
Meanwhile, Negros Occidental is still a major supplier of hogs to Luzon, being an ASF-free area, with 577 heads recently shipped to the provinces of Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna.
In response to the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) call on hog restocking and repopulation program following ASF outbreaks, the PVO is arranging the possibility of barge shipment of breeder pigs from Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) accredited breeder farms of the province for commercial hog raisers in Batangas and Occidental Mindoro to support the DA restocking and repopulation program.
The province is appealing for the help of the national agencies to facilitate the movement of live hogs from ASF-free zones to destinations in different parts of Luzon to support their restocking and repopulation effort, Decena said.*