Gov't addressing concerns of country's hog raisers, pork producers

April 20, 2012 10:28 pm 

MANILA, April 20 — The Aquino government is addressIng the major needs and concerns of the country's hog raisers and pork producers, a Palace official said on Friday.

Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ramon Carandang made this statement during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Friday following the reported concerns of several hog farmers over pork importations affecting the industry.

Backyard hog farmers said pork imports led to the displacement of some 20 percent of hog farmers in the country in just three years. They said this development has forced many backyard farmers to suspend and even close down operations.

"The DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) is dealing with that and we hope the DTI can resolve these issues at the soonest possible time," Carandang said.

In a bid to make the country’s hog industry competitive in the export market, President Aquino earlier said the government and industry stakeholders, along with farmers, should partner to reduce the cost of producing hogs, particularly the cost of animal feeds and its main ingredient, yellow corn.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala relayed the message of President Aquino to the hog raisers during the 21st Annual convention of the National Federation of Hog Raisers and the Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines on Thursday (April 19) in Mandaue City.

President Aquino said the hog raisers should have a direct linkage or partnership agreement with corn farmers. He assured that the government continues to provide assistance to hog raisers by implementing policies.

He also said that hog raisers can avail of the needed capital from the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.

The President cited other recent policies and initiatives to further prop up the hog industry, including the issuance of the Department of Agriculture's Administrative Order No. 5 and 6.

Administrative Order No. 5 pertains to rules and regulations on hygienic handling of newly slaughtered meat in meat markets, while Administrative Order No. 6 contains the rules and regulations on hygienic handling of chilled, frozen and thawed meat in the market.

He said the two Administrative Orders were issued to further strengthen the country’s “food control system” and ensure that meat sold in markets are hygienic and of high quality.

The Chief Executive said meat and animal products should conform with international standards. He instructed the DA to set aside funds to upgrade its national animal diagnostic at meat laboratories, particularly those in major livestock production areas.

There are ongoing negotiations to export chilled and frozen pork to the Middle East, Malaysia, and Japan, and frozen chicken to South Korea, according to the President.

He said the DA through the Bureau of Animal Industry and the National Meat Inspection Service will spearhead a system-wide and product-specific export accreditation process to ensure that the country's meat products for exports are of high quality. The system will also protect domestic meat products from undue competition due to smuggling, undervaluation and misdeclaration of illegally-imported commodities. (PNA)

RMA/PCOO/rsm

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