MANILA - Instead of lowering tariffs on pork, the government should give local farmers access to more funds so they can grow the hog population in the country which will solve the problem of rising pork prices, an agriculture advocacy group said Thursday.
"Do what other countries’ do, put the facilities, enlarge the population, give them the loans. Import, import, import but for me don’t give a [tariff] reduction at all and secondly help the locals by putting in the measures, give the loans and insurance aspect," said Alyansa Agrikultura chairman Ernie Ordoñez.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar earlier said there was a proposal to lower tariffs for pork for a year.
Ordoñez however said that this measure will only give more income to importers.
"They want to bring down the tariffs, make it really cheap that importers are really hungry to bring it in but we don’t need the whole thing coming in because we don’t have jobs," Ordoñez told ANC.
"We don’t have to drop it at all. They’re already cheaper than us. They’re already making enough," he added.
Prices of pork products have escalated due to a supply shortage caused by the African Swine Fever (ASF).
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier signed a measure putting a price cap on pork and chicken meat products in Metro Manila.
Executive Order No. 124 sets a price ceiling of P270 per kilogram for kasim and pigue, P300 per kilogram for liempo, and 160 per kilogram for dressed chicken in the National Capital Region for 60 days.
Retailers, however, claimed that farmgate prices of pork remain escalated, making it difficult to earn a living with the mandated price cap.
Aside from imports and loans, the government "must give real efforts to stop this ASF," Ordoñez said.
The DA said pork meat products from Visayas and Mindanao were being transported daily to meet the demand in Metro Manila.
The country's swine industry is estimated to be worth P260 billion, the DA earlier said.