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Duterte asked to allow zero-tariff pork imports to augment local supply

THE Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI) has asked President Rodrigo Duterte to authorize the importation of pork at zero tariff to immediately address the shortage of meat in the country.

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar dated January 26, 2021, PAMPI said it is recommending Duterte’s approval of three emergency measures to ease the tight supply and high prices of pork.

To mitigate and/or control the deepening pork shortage, and provide an alternative to the MAV Plus mechanism to import pork, the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. strongly recommends to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, through the Department of Agriculture, the following emergency measures,” PAMPI president Felix O. Tiukinhoy Jr. said in the letter.

The group’s first recommendation is that hog farmers/producers duly registered with the Bureau of Animal Industry be authorized to directly import up to 50,000 metric tons of pork, and more if necessary, at zero tariff.

Its second proposal is for state-run Land Bank of the Philippines to provide financing/trade credit to qualified hog raisers/producers at concessional rates.

PAMPI, in its third recommendation, said the Department of Agriculture/National Meat Inspection Service should temporarily suspend the implementation of the policy prohibiting the sale/display of frozen meat products in public markets which are not equipped with refrigeration facilities during the duration of the shortage.

The foregoing is intended to provide fiscal support to hog farmers/producers to afford them the opportunity to generate income and compensate for huge losses arising from the ASF decimation of their hog farms,” Tiukinhoy said.

Our recommendation, we believe, is a much better way of alleviating the plight of the hog sector at no cost to the government rather than giving them financial dole-outs,” he said.

Tiukinhoy explained that as a business practice, it is not unusual for producers to import goods in emergency situations during which they are unable to produce them so that they can continue providing supply to consumers and the general public as well.

It is incumbent on the national government, and the meat processing industry which is a partner of the livestock sector and which PAMPI represents, to support and ensure the survival and rehabilitation of hog farms. We trust our recommendation will merit your approval,” PAMPI said in the letter.