USDA: PH to import more pork, but prices unlikely to go down yet | Inquirer Business
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USDA: PH to import more pork, but prices unlikely to go down yet

The Philippines is expected to bring in more pork with the government deciding to retain lower tariffs on imports until the end of the year.

In a report, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said the country was expected to import 400,000 metric tons of pork, up by 6.7 percent from its previous forecast of 375,000 MT.

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The USDA raised its projection after President Duterte signed Executive Order No. 171, which extended the most favored nation tariff rates for pork imports at 15 percent for in-quota volume and 25 percent for out-quota volume until end-December to ensure enough supply and to keep prices in check amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) also recently reinstituted the validity period of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances for imported meat to 90 days from 60 days in view of the worldwide shipping delay problems caused by COVID-19 restrictions.

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Threat of ASF

The USDA maintained its pork output estimate for 2022 at 1 million MT since boosting the inventory at this time remained a challenge following the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak nearly three years ago.

“Industry is continually hesitant to rebuild stocks despite the government’s best efforts to encourage repopulation amidst the continuing threat of ASF infection and the absence of a locally available vaccine,” it said.

Earlier, the DA partnered with Universal Robina Corp. and Chulalongkorn University in Thailand to conduct a clinical study on a vaccine against ASF.

“Not unexpected, pig and pork prices have resumed their increase since the short-term effects of temporary, more favorable market access conditions wore off at the end of 2021 and shortly before it, the peak Christmas consumption season. More recently, higher feed and fuel prices have and are likely to contribute to higher production costs,” the USDA said.

Pork ham (kasim) is currently being sold at P350 per kilo as against last year’s prevailing price of P320 per kilo, according to the DA’s price monitoring as of Friday. Pork liempo retails for P390 a kilo, also higher than P370 per kilo a year ago.

“The government’s relative half-measure to improve market access in 2022 compared to 2021 is likely to offer only minimal and brief relief to consumers given the relatively still high in-quota duty rate and no expansion of the in-quota volume,” it added.

Meanwhile, the USDA left its forecast for chicken meat imports unchanged at 420,000 MT, noting that conditions remained the same including measures aimed at stemming the spread of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) or bird flu.

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It expects chicken prices to remain elevated on the back of higher production costs and HPAI restrictions.

The same DA price data showed whole chicken (dressed) is sold for P200 per kilo as against P150 per kilo a year ago. INQ

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TAGS: Business, Pork
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