Gov’t-funded transport subsidy for hog shipment is now available

Published February 10, 2021, 12:34 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The government-funded transport subsidy for hog shipment is now available, but hog raisers must first follow a lengthy process.

In a virtual briefing, Arnel De Mesa, assistant secretary for operations of the Department of Agriculture (DA), has discussed the process for availing the P21 per kilogram (/kg) transport subsidy for hogs coming from Visayas and Mindanao.

The provision of a transport subsidy for hog shipments is one way to bring down the retail cost of pork in Metro Manila, which rose at unprecedented levels over the past two months due to a shortfall in supply. 

This was first proposed by Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG), which asked the DA to subsidize the transport cost of pork from Visayas and Mindanao in order to encourage hog raisers there to ship some of their supply to Luzon.

( Manila Bulletin / File / Keith Bacongco)

This, since while Visayas and Mindanao both have cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) too these regions are not as badly affected by the virus as Luzon. ASF is a fatal animal disease that has been pulling down the country’s supply of pork.

As part of the procedure to avail the transport subsidy, De Mesa said hog raisers should first go to the nearest DA Regional Field Office (RFO) and have their hog shipments registered there.

Accredited hog shipments will then be inspected by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) upon their arrival in Metro Manila. And as usual, raisers will have to secure a certification from NMIS.

After that, hog raisers will have to go back to their RFO and present their NMIS certification so that they can apply for the reimbursement for the transport subsidy, De Mesa said.

SINAG originally proposed a P30/kg subsidy in transport, which they said can bring down the retail cost of pork by P40 to P45/kg.

The group said eventually that the P21/kg transport subsidy will also do as long as the DA will provide a clear and easy process on how to avail it.

Right now, the DA is anticipating the transport of hogs from Mindanao, Visayas, and some parts of Luzon including Batangas to be delivered to Metro Manila markets.

Clinton Edward Ang, president of the South Cotabato Swine Producers’ Association, is also said to have committed already to transport and deliver live hogs and carcasses to Luzon, initially at 10,000 hogs a week, according to Agriculture Secretary William Dar. 

DA is also looking at the possible transport of hogs from San Jose, Batangas. To date, there are about 41,953 heads of hogs available from the San Jose piggeries.

At select markets in Metro Manila, the prevailing price for pork kasim stood at P270/kg, while it is P300/kg for pork liempo as of Wednesday. This was two days since the new price ceiling for pork has been set within these price levels.   

Aside from the aforementioned local hog shipments, the DA is also eyeing more pork importation to boost the supply of this farm commodity in the country, especially in Luzon.

This, since the Philippines will face a deficit of 56,142 metric tons (MT) of pork carcass during this quarter and a deficit of 161,630 MT by the second quarter, based on the latest food supply outlook of DA. 

Things will get worse in the third quarter and fourth quarter of the year, with a deficit of 250,935 MT and 388,790 MT of pork, respectively.

Right now, the DA is trying to secure a separate green light for its two proposals related to importation, one of which is the higher minimum access volume (MAV) for pork.

MAV refers to the volume of a specific agricultural product that is allowed to be imported with a lower tariff as committed by the Philippines to the World Trade Organization (WTO).  

Pork imports falling within the MAV are levied a 30 percent tariff, while the out-quota tariff is 40 percent.

From 54,000 MT MAV allocation for pork, the DA recommended having this increased to 388,790 MT.

The other proposal would be to lower the in-quota and out-quota rate for pork imports.