Pork prices hit 4-year low
Local hog producers are asking the Department of Agriculture to stop the importation of pork as the farm-gate price for the commodity reached its lowest in more than four years due to oversupply.
However, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the agency could not completely halt pork shipments from abroad following President Duterte’s order to ease the importation of agricultural goods. What it could do for now, he said, was to slow down the issuances of import permits.
The agriculture chief met with pork traders and importers on Tuesday after meeting with hog producers a week before. According to Jesus Cham, president of the Meat Importers and Traders Association, Piñol told them that the release of import permits would be delayed to a week from two days to stabilize the market. This would be implemented beginning this week until the next.
But industry groups are cynical of the agency’s move, noting that the entry of more pork in the market, regardless of the volume, would still add to the problem of supply.
According to Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, the farm-gate price for a kilo of pork is now at P110 a kilo or already at breakeven point. The surplus in production, the group added, was enough to fill the country’s requirements for the next nine months.
As of last week, data showed there were about 34.33 million kilos of pork in storage.
Piñol said in an interview last week that the oversupply has already choked cold-storage facilities in the country and admitted that there was a need to curb imports to address the problem. But since importation has already been liberalized, the agency could not stop traders from importing meat.
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