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‘Import meat, lower prices’

Pork imports under MAV are only levied with a 30 percent tariff. The out-quota tariff, meanwhile, is 40 percent.

Maria Romero

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A group of meat processors on Tuesday proposed duty-free pork importation to ease tight domestic supply and stabilize the retail price of meat in the market.

In a letter dated 26 January, the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI) seeks President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval to import 50,000 metric tons (MT) of pork at zero tariffs.

The proposal came after the Department of Agriculture (DA) finalized the plan to triple the Minimum Access Volume (MAV) allocation for pork imports — from 54,000 MT to more than 160,000 MT.

Pork imports under MAV are only levied with a 30 percent tariff. The out-quota tariff, meanwhile, is 40 percent.

Market price of pork belly (liempo) is around P400 a kilogram.

PAMPI also urges the state-run Land Bank of the Philippines to provide trade credit to qualified hog raisers at concessional rates.

The group added that the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) should temporarily allow the sale and display of frozen meat products in public markets.

PAMPI President Felix Tiukinhoy Jr. said the recommendations will provide fiscal support to hog farmers to help them generate higher income.

He said it will also help compensate for huge losses due to the onslaught of African swine fever (ASF.)

Tiukinhoy also noted that as a business practice, producers usually import goods, especially during emergencies.

On Monday, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) chairperson Rosendo So contended that instead of increasing imports, the government should just subsidize the shipment of pork from Visayas and Mindanao to Luzon.

The latest data from the NMIS showed that from 5 to 11 January, government-accredited cold storages have an inventory of 31,401.29 MT of frozen pork, 27,967 MT of which were imported and 3,433 MT sourced locally.

This is lower compared to the previous week’s frozen pork inventory, which stood at 38,250 MT.

However, the latest year-on-year inventory at 30,294 MT is still higher than its year-ago level. A total 25,656 (MT) of the inventory were imported while 4,638.45 were produced locally.

PAMPI also urges the state-run Land Bank of the Philippines to provide trade credit to qualified hog raisers at concessional rates.

There had been claims of market manipulation by traders which some government officials blamed for the price increases in the market retail of pork, however.

The Department of Justice through the National Bureau of Investigation said is ready to help the DA monitor and conducting surveillance operations against erring traders and wholesalers if needed.

“We have not received any formal request for assistance from the DA but we will be ready to help,” said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

 

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