P10B annual support for local meat, dairy production proposed
At least P10 billion in annual funding is eyed to develop local livestock and poultry farming as part of a proposed legislation in the Senate to reduce dependence on meat and dairy imports.
Sen. Cynthia Villar, who chairs the Senate committee on agriculture and food, said this on Monday during the hearing for Senate Bill (SB) No. 119, or the proposed Livestock, Poultry and Dairy Development and Competitiveness Act of 2022.
“We have an idea. [The] minimum is P10 billion a year,” said Villar, drawing as a rough basis for the proposed funding support the yearly amount of import duties and taxes collected from meat and dairy products sourced overseas.
Based on government statistics, duties and taxes collected from these imported products reached P12.5 billion in 2020.
SB 119, which was introduced by Villar, highlights the need to develop the livestock sector, citing the huge volume of meat and dairy imported by the Philippines every year.
According to data from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), the volume of meat brought into the country last year climbed by 16.4 percent to 1.35 billion kilograms (kg).
Meanwhile, more than 95 percent of milk and dairy products that the country consumes are sourced abroad, as cited by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
“The Philippine livestock sector urgently needs a boost. For decades now, it has received limited attention and developmental assistance from the government. With the growing concern for food security, the poultry and dairy sectors likewise need to be revitalized,” read the explanatory note of the bill.
Villar scored BAI officials for allowing what she deemed as excessive importation of meat products, saying that this was killing the local industry.
“We reviewed the local production and the local demand. It looks like importation is not justified,” said Villar, noting in particular, purchases of chicken and pork.
“Of course, the first thing you look at is what is the local demand, the local production, so you can determine how much you will import,” she added.
Total demand for pork in the Philippines amounted to about 1.73 million kg in 2022 versus a local production of 1.69 million kg, based on BAI data shown during the Senate hearing. The country imported 724,532 kg during the year, resulting in a surplus of 686,881 kg of pork. INQ