Pork imports won’t kill hog sector—NEDA

Published April 16, 2021, 3:32 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

Temporary increase in pork imports will not “kill” the hog industry, as the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) estimated that it would potentially account for less than a quarter of total consumption.

In a statement on Friday, April 16, Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said that imported pork will not flood in the domestic market as local hog raisers will continue fill in the most of the demand. 

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua (Photo credit https://www.neda.gov.ph/secretarys-corner/)

Based on NEDA estimates, pork imports would reach 381,000 metric tons in 2021, equivalent to only 22.8 percent of the country’s total consumption. 

Chua said the estimated volume of pork imports is still lower compared with their projected carcass pork deficit for 2021.

According to NEDA, hog raisers could produce only around 1.2 million metric tons carcass pork this year, short by 477,000 metric tons against the projected demand of 1.67 million metric tons.

In addition, Chua said the limited cold chain facility in the country also serves as a physical barrier to huge importation since the total capacity allocated for pork is only estimated at around 268,000 metric tons.

Likewise, there is an increased global demand for pork after the African Swine Fever (ASF) has also affected hog production of many countries, the NEDA official said.

“After almost two years since ASF started, the data clearly shows that we cannot meet the total demand for pork only through domestic support,” Chua said, noting that the local swine inventory sharply dropped three million heads or 24.1 percent from 2020 to 2021.

The use importation is the government’s last resort amid skyrocketing pork prices, Chua said.

According to NEDA, temporarily lowering the tariff rate to 5.0 percent to 10 percent would lead to lower landed cost of around P215 to P222 per kilo, closer to the normal pork retail price of P224 per kilo.

“We need to help domestic producers recover from the ASF. But we also need to help 95 million consumers of pork by reducing tariff and increasing the MAV [minimum access volume] temporarily,” Chua said.

He said these measures will help fill the deficit, reduce food prices, and ensure food supply is adequate and affordable.

The NEDA supported the temporary increase in MAV for pork from 54,210 to 404,210 metric tons to help fill the supply gap.