THE GOVERNMENT needs to review its pork import policy due to the dampening effect imports have had on farmgate prices and amid increasing production costs, the pork industry said.
Rolando E. Tambago, Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines, Inc. president, said by phone that growers are facing dual pressures from the low price of live hogs and higher feed costs.
“(The government) needs to revisit its expansion of pork imports,” Mr. Tambago said.
He said the current average farmgate price for live hogs in Luzon is P160 per kilogram (/kg), while the average farmgate price in the Visayas and Mindanao is P130/kg.
He also estimated that the current cost of production in Luzon is P165/kg; in the Visayas and Mindanao the cost is P140/kg.
“It is higher in Luzon because of the higher biosecurity costs resulting from African Swine Fever (ASF),” Mr. Tambago said.
“Feed corn also increased from P14/kg earlier this year to the current price of P23/kg,” he added.
Mr. Tambago said some hog raisers have been selling their hogs at below cost due to weak demand and the arrival of imported pork at lower tariff rates.
“The demand is down since the purchasing capacity of people is low… imported pork is also competing with local pork,” Mr. Tambago said.
“While the government is asking us to increase production capacity — to which we responded even with low demand — it still opted for massive importation. Definitely, the swine industry’s confidence to further repopulate is affected,” he added.
In May, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed two executive orders that expanded the minimum access volume allocation for pork imports by 200,000 metric tons (MT); and lowered the tariff rates of in-quota and out-of-quota pork imports to increase supply and control prices.
The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) estimates that meat imports in the eight months to August rose 44.8% year on year to 800,152.24 MT, led by pork.
Pork imports during the period increased 184.1% to 389,556.86 MT.
The BAI also tallied sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPSICs) for meat imports covering 1.72 million MT as of the end of August, an increase of 107% year on year.
Approved SPSICs for pork imports as of Aug. 31 is 837,955.34 MT, against 276,424.23 MT a year earlier. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave