MANILA, Philippines - Consumers should brace for a possible increase in the prices of meat products, according to the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI).
PAMPI said there could be a spike in prices due to a shortage in meat supply caused by a Department of Agriculture order that limits importation of meat.
In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, PAMPI said the Administratrive Order no. 9 restricts the
trade and distribution of imported meat, causing a shortage in pork and higher prices this month.
PAMPI said the National Meat Inspection Service, an agency under the DA, implemented the order without consultations with the industry group.
"What is clear is that the rules favor the monopoly of supply from local sources and this is further emphasized in the market situation during the Holy Week. This time of year, although the demand for pork would be at its lowest, pork prices had gone right through the roof! There is a definite shortage of pork but the NMIS continues to strangle our only other alternative for raw materials – imported pork – by making importation of pork more difficult, and in fact impossible for new industry entrants," PAMPI said.
PAMPI called AO no. 9 as "anti-business" for companies involved in food manufacturing and meat processing, as well as import and export. Because of the order, the group claimed that operations of some meat processors have halted, while other companies that depend on meat raw materials have experienced a slowdown in operations.
PAMPI said it opposes the order for several reasons, first it is a "de facto three-year ban on importation of
meat/meat products by new or newly established companies."
The group said the order imposes a minimum paid-up capital requirement of P5 million for new meat importers, which is "arbitrary" and "discriminatory."
It also noted that the order prohibits trade and distribution of Indian buffalo meat, which is effectively a technical barrier to trade. Also, the order goes against the government's aim to simplify policies.
"We ask that the confidentiality of this business information be respected. These are ‘trade secrets’ that cannot be disclosed and should not be asked of us to disclose," it said.
PAMPI said the order's provisions will make the meat trade business more difficult.
"The guideline presents itself as a disincentive for new investments, or even kills the propensity of existing businesses to grow. This does not align with the objectives of this administration for better business. It is a clear intent of the NMIS to stifle our growth instead of helping us to grow as rapidly as we can," the group