More imports not the solution to high pork prices, KMP say

Published February 1, 2021, 1:08 PM

by Jhon Aldrin Casinas

The government should provide local hog raisers with enough support in order to bring down prices of pork in the market and help them recover from their losses, a farmers’ group said. 

Pork chorizo on display at Agdao Market, Davao City. ( Manila Bulletin / File / Keith Bacongco)

In a statement issued Sunday, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said that the country’s plan to import more pork in a bid to curb the rising prices of pork products in the market is not the solution.

“More pork imports are not the solution to high prices. The necessary and more appropriate solution is to help and support local backyard hog raisers to help them recover from losses,” says KMP Chairperson Danilo Ramos.

The peasant leader noted that backyard and farm hog raisers in the country lost a staggering P56 billion due to the African Swine Fever (ASF).

“The first case of ASF in the country was discovered in 2019. However, the DA and government economic managers then belittled its effects to the economy and food production, resulting in the delayed and haphazard response to the ASF outbreak,” Ramos said.

The KMP cited monopoly pricing and operation of big traders and cartels in the livestock, chicken, and poultry industries are to blame for the skyrocketing prices. But it noted that the lack of government regulation and control in agri industries also led to high food prices.

“Decades of liberalization in agriculture and food led us to this hellhole of high prices. The government must do away with its importation and liberalization policies, and strengthen the local food production instead,” the militant group said.

With lawmakers now scheduled to probe the high prices of pork and chicken meat in the country, the KMP said the government must consider the granting of subsidies to affected sectors such as farmers, workers, and consumers.

“We do not see food prices going down drastically in the coming weeks,” Ramos said. “We demand a P10,000 cash aid as urgent economic relief, and a P15,000 production subsidy for farmers, fisherfolk, and agricultural workers.”