Malacanang says concerned government agencies have joined forces to address smuggling of pork

May 3, 2012 10:29 pm 

MANILA, May 3 — Various concerned government agencies have joined forces to address the smuggling of pork into the country, a Palace official said on Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda issued the statement during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Thursday following reports that several hog raisers will go on a week-long nationwide “pork holiday” to protest the rampant smuggling of pork.

Lacierda said the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Finance, the Bureau of Customs and other concerned government agencies have started implementing measures to eradicate the reported technical smuggling.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala will be meeting with the hog and poultry raisers to address their concerns. Alcala ordered the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) to check the markets for smuggled meat.

Aside from smuggling, the hog raisers also raised their concerns over pork importations that have led to the displacement of some 20 percent of hog farmers in just three years. They said this development has forced many backyard farmers to suspend and even close down operations.

Lacierda assured that the Aquino government is addressing the major needs and concerns of the country's hog raisers and pork producers.

"We assure the public that there is no pork shortage," he said.

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 in a bid to make the country’s hog industry competitive with the export market.

The President said the hog raisers should have a direct linkage or partnership agreement with corn farmers, and 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. (PNA)

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