Senator Imee Marcos has called on the government to prevent pork importers from taking over local market supply and pushing Filipino producers out of business.
“The slaughter of our local hog raisers will begin if the Department of Agriculture (DA) succeeds in its push to raise the minimum access volume of pork imports from the present 54,000 metric tons,” Marcos said.
In a Senate hearing last Monday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said that the government was considering pork imports that may exceed 400,000 metric tons.
Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on economic affairs, said that pork imports “may deal the coup de grace to our pork industry before Vietnam could release a vaccine against African swine fever (ASF) later this year,” Marcos added.
The spread of African swine fever has forced Luzon to import some 80% of its pork supply from the Visayas and Mindanao.
Marcos said the government can bring down meat prices by subsidizing the cost of transporting pork products to Luzon, pointing out that the DA got the single biggest item for emergency and stimulus funding under Bayanihan 2, amounting to Php24 billion.
“Many local hog raisers have already shut down their business. Importation amid the Covid-19 pandemic means more local jobs will be lost and surrendering the country’s food security to foreigners,” Marcos said.