Local meat processors urge PH gov't to avoid food trade disputes | Inquirer Business

Local meat processors urge PH gov’t to avoid food trade disputes

/ 02:06 PM October 07, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI) on Wednesday asked the government to avoid trade disputes with countries that provide raw materials for the food industry, especially in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, PAMPI noted that the Philippines imports most of the raw materials needed to produce affordable canned meat products which were largely consumed at the height of community quarantine imposed to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

“About 90 percent to 95 percent of raw materials of the meat processing industry are imported. Not because we want to, but because we have to,” PAMPI said.


“The meat processing industry will continue to grow and support its commitment to supply the food needs of the country. Working with stakeholders and government regulators, we shall resolve and mitigate difficult issues together,” it added.


The association also said that the country imports more than 800,000 metric tons of meat every year, of which 50 to 60 percent is used by meat processors to produce canned meat products, hotdogs, and frozen meat items.

In making this call to the government, PAMPI cited a “trade dispute” between the Philippines and Brazil that broke out when the Department of Agriculture imposed a ban on chicken meats coming from Brazil following reports of coronavirus contamination in the country’s poultry products.

It said that the dispute threatened the supply of raw materials for the local meat processing industry.

“Industry sources said Brazil practically hostaged the MDM (mechanically deboned meat) shipments to Manila as a retaliation to what the DA did – banning Brazilian chicken entry into the Philippines,” PAMPI added.

However, PAMPI noted that in a letter to the association on September 11, the Food and Drug Administration reiterated that there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 virus from food or food ingredients.

Less than a month into its implementation, the DA lifted in September the ban on the import of MDM, or the product used in making hotdogs and luncheon meat, from Brazil.


“Without MDM from Brazil, our cost of raw materials would spike by 20 percent and we cannot pass on the rising cost to our consumers because of Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act signed by President (Rodrigo) Duterte recently,” PAMPI pointed out.

“We appeal to the government for intervention so that we will be able to deliver our commitment to serve our people through a sustainable food security system,” it added.

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The P310 billion meat processing industry provides direct employment to some 150,000 people, according to PAMPI. In 2019, the industry produced some 900 million kilograms of processed meat.

TAGS: Brazil, Department of Agriculture

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