Zarate: Importation of pork, poultry will kill agri sector

For Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate, the Department of Agriculture’s plan to import pork and products would kill the hogs and poultry industry.

Zarate said importation should be the last option when it comes to addressing the increase in prices of products.

“Bakit ba palaging ang default reaction ng Duterte administration, lalo na ng DA, ay palagi ang pag-iimport at hindi ang tulungang paunlarin ang mga magsasaka ng ating bansa?” Zarate said.

“Tayo ang pinakamalaking importer ng bigas sa mundo, ngayon pati ba naman sa baboy at manok ay target din ng DA na tayo ang manguna? Habang naghihirap na nga ang mayorya ng nasa sektor ng agrikultura lalo lang silang binabaon ng pamahalaan sa hukay,” he added.

Pork and chicken prices have continued to spike despite the price freeze imposed in 2020 due to the fever (ASF) outbreak.

Last month, Agriculture Secretary said the national government plans to increase the volume of pork imports to ensure the supply of pork and chicken meat in the country is stable.

Zarate: Importation of pork, poultry will kill agri sector

However, citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Zarate noted that the local pork and chicken production is enough to meet the demands in the Philippines.

“According to the PSA, the per capita consumption of pork and chicken in 2020 is 15 kilos and 13.7 kilos, respectively. This translates to an estimated consumption of 1.5 million metric tons and 1,479.6 thousand metric tons,” Zarate said.

“Meanwhile, local production of pork and chicken in 2020 is 2,142.65 thousand metric tons and 1,809.85 thousand metric tons, respectively. Now where does the DA get its data that there is a need to import? Is it saying that the PSA data is wrong?” he added.

Zarate said what needs to be done is “to increase support for hog and pou?try raisers so that they can also  increase production.”

“Again, we re-echo these calls given during our dialogue with local raisers and breeders, as well as farmers groups: They need concrete programs to accelerate re-population of hog stock that is now nearly wiped out by ASF and a stop to more importation,” Zarate said.

“What they seek is government’s support to the agriculture industry and not DA’s or NEDA‘s (National Economic and Development Authority) proposals to reduce tariff for imports of agricultural products,” he added.