'No pork shortage this Christmas'

By Cathy Rose A. Garcia, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Nov 24 2011 10:36 AM | Updated as of Nov 24 2011 09:19 PM

MANILA, Philippines - There is no impending shortage of pork, according to Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines (AGAP) party-list Rep. Nicanor Briones. On the contrary, there is an oversupply of pork in the country, which has depressed prices and caused losses for pork producers, he added.
 
In an interview with DZMM on Thursday, Briones dismissed claims by meat processors that there will be a pork and chicken supply shortage in the coming holiday season because of the government's non-issuance of import permits for pork and chicken.

"Nakalulungkot ang mga nasa sector ng magbababoy dahil kasalukuyan may oversupply ng baboy at nalulugi nga sila. Kasi bumaba na ang presyo dahil sa oversupply at marami imported," he said.

Briones, who represents the agricultural sector, said there is no shortage since data from the Department of Agriculture (DA) shows there are 9 million kilos of pork currently in cold storage.

He said supply of pork will be stable through January.

There is also no basis for the high price of pork in the markets, which should be investigated by the DA and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). "Dapat P150 lang ang maximum presyo (ng baboy) sa palengke. Dapat tingnan ito ng DTI at DA," he said.

Asked about the meat processors' warnings of a pork and chicken shortage, Briones said: " Self-interest yan. Gusto nila kumita ng kumita at the expense of mga maliliit na mag-bababoy."

"Hindi totoo yan na magkukulang ang supply ng processed meats at fresh meat sa palengke dahil lang sa hindi sila mag-iimport. Ang gusto nila ibagsak ang presyo ng local ng baboy kaya tuloy ang pagkita nila ng malaking pera," he added.

Earlier, Francisco Buencamino, executive director of Philippine Association of Meat Processors, and Jesus Cham, president of the Meat Importers and Traders Association, complained that the DA has not released all import clearances for pork and chicken since November 3.

The two said the department's action has compromised the supply of meat products for the Christmas season.