By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The government will proceed with the importation of as much as 300,000 metric tons (MT) of corn at lower tariffs as the country prepares for the surge in demand for livestock feeds.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the Department of Finance (DOF) already approved the importation of about 300,000 MT of yellow corn from the United States to support the country’s livestock industry.
The Philippines’ demand for livestock feeds, which are largely made of corn, is seen to increase as the government moved to tighten security against the deadly pork disease African Swine Fever (ASF).
This, especially after Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered the recall and seizure of processed meat products from countries affected by ASF, which is on top of the existing importation ban the Department of Agriculture (DA) already placed in these countries.
These orders mean the Philippines won’t temporarily allow the entry and the consumption of pork products, processed or canned, coming from China, Vietnam, Zambia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Mongolia, Moldova, Belgium, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine.
As a result, local meat producers must step up and fill the demand with locally produced livestock meat.
“The DA expects a dramatic growth of the hog and poultry sector this year,” Piñol said. “[The importation of corn] will ultimately increase the production of livestock animal and meat.”
No cases of ASF had been detected in the Philippines so far. But all the entry points in the Philippine already tightened security versus the potential entry of the virus.
“With China importing huge volumes of pork as a result of the ASF devastation, pork world market prices have gone up, giving the Filipino hog farmers a respite from the inflow of cheaper imported pork,” Piñol said.
“In fact, some large hog production groups are now eyeing the export of Philippine pork to China, a move which could create a supply shortage in the local market,” he added.
Meanwhile, Piñol also urged local meat importers to observe control and regulation in sourcing out canned meat from countries that are not affected by ASF. He also encouraged the group to buy from the local hog raisers.
“We are not stopping you from doing your business, but we need to be cautious,” Piñol said.