The country's largest pork producers group decried the low farm-gate prices, prompting them to launch a nationwide campaign, appealing to consumers to prefer local pork over imported.
In a text exchange, Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines, Inc. (PPFPI) President Nonon Tambago said local hog raisers have been dealing with falling farm-gate prices over the last four weeks, a situation worsened by rising production costs.
“Farmgate (livehogs) prices all over the country dropped by 25 to 35 percent for the last four weeks while farm inputs like feeds keep on increasing. Pinoy hog farmers are suffering due to this situation. Some are expected to sell their hogs below cost,” Tambago said on Wednesday.
As in other food producers and retailers in the Philippines, Tambago attributed this situation to low demand for the agricultural commodity as well as the continuous entry of cheaper imported meat in the country.
United Broilers Raisers Association (UBRA) Chairman Gregorio San Diego Jr. made the same exact complaint earlier this month, blaming the low demand and high volume of chicken imports for causing problems in the local poultry industry right now.
“First, the price is down because of the low demand, which was dampened by consumers’ low purchasing capacity amid worsening COVID-19 situation. The second is due to the massive arrival of cheaper imported pork approved by President Rodrigo Duterte with a much lower tariff. This imported pork is competing with our shrinking market demand,” Tambago further said.
The latest average farmgate price for hogs in Luzon stood at P170 per kilogram (/kg), while it is P140/kg and P130/kg for Visayas and Mindanao, respectively.
Meanwhile, the prevailing retail price of pork kasim and pork liempo at select NCR markets as of September 14 stood around P300/kg and P340/kg, based on the latest price monitoring of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“Some people are asking why the price of local pork remains high at wet markets, this is because, traditionally, farmers sell to viajero then viajero sells to retailers. Hog farmers don’t have any control in the retail price at wet markets,” Tambago noted.
PPFPI is the largest pork producers group in the Philippines today with a total of 48 affiliated associations all over the country.
Recently, the group launched a social media campaign calling on consumers to support locally produced pork. The campaign is called “MasMalinis, MasMasarap ang Sariwa! Eat Pinoy Pork ~ TatakFresh!”.
“We really need your full support to the National Pinoy Pork Campaign,” Tambago said. "I believe this campaign can help the industry."
In August, the Philippine government was accused of seemingly promoting imported meat over local meat in its recently launched project, “Presyong Risonable Dapat (PRD) Program: Frozen Meat Edition”.
“Why does our agriculture department promote and support foreign agricultural products? This is insane and unacceptable,” Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) National Chairperson Danilo Ramos said in an earlier report.
The new edition of the PRD Program is being implemented by DA in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DT) and Robinsons Supermarket. Through this project, which will be implemented in all Robinsons Supermarkets within the National Capital Region, frozen pork and chicken products will be made available at lower prices compared to those in public markets and other establishments.
Frozen meat often refers to those that were imported overseas, while locally produced meat is often referred to as fresh meat.
Under the PRD Program, consumers can buy the frozen meat and chicken products at the following discounted price: pork belly/liempo at P250 /kg); pork chop at P220/kg; pork kasim/pigue; P220/kg; ground pork at P200/kg; and chicken leg quarters at P110/kg.
“Instead of protecting local agricultural products, Dar is grossly supporting competing foreign products. Isn’t this a violation of the DA’s mandate?” Ramos further said.
KMP also pointed out that Agriculture Secretary William Dar was instrumental in pushing for the issuance of Executive Orders (EO) 133 and 134, increasing the country’s Minimum Access Volume for pork by 250,000 metric tons and lowered import taxes on pork, respectively.