Agri dept mulls tripling pork imports to raise supply


Posted at Jan 18 2021 09:18 PM | Updated as of Jan 18 2021 09:52 PM

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The Department of Agriculture said on Monday it was studying tripling pork limits to raise its supply, following recent price spikes, as African swine fever (ASF) hits parts of the country.

Prices of pork products such as pork belly have soared to as high as 380 to 400 pesos a kilo in major public markets in Metro Manila, way higher than the suggested retail price of 225 pesos a kilo.

"Kasama po sa plano at pinag-aaralan na namin itong dagdagan ang minimum access volume to triple what is allowed," said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

(The plans that we are studying include raising the minimum access volume to what is allowed.)
Traders are allowed to import 54,000 metric tons of pork annually, he said in a public briefing.

Dar said his agency has set aside P400 million for repopulating hogs starting this month, and getting pork supply from Visayas and Mindanao.

Some 415 towns and cities have recorded cases of African swine fever, said Dar.

ASF causes hemorrhagic fever in pigs that almost always ends in death. It cannot be transmitted to humans and other animals.

Pork accounts for 60 percent of meat consumption in the Philippines, where the swine industry is valued at P260 billion, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The price of pork was among the factors that drove inflation to a 22-month high in December, according to the state statistics bureau, and prices of pork products are unlikely to come down anytime soon.

Watch part of the briefing here.