Meat imports will kill local farms, DA told

PETITIONS to stop chicken and pork importation are flooding the office of the Department of Agriculture (DA), with at least eight organizations pushing for a  freeze on meat imports to protect local producers.

The eight agriculture and related organizations asked the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) to stop issuing import permits for chicken meat, pork and processed products until the end of 2020 to allow poultry producers to survive.

“Meat importations are causing despicable” damage to millions of Filipinos amid the debilitating COVID-19 crisis,” the domestic meat groups chorused.

Signatory to the joint statement are Philippine Association of Feed Millers Inc. (Stephanie Nicole S. Garcia); Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines (Arch Edwin G. Chen); Philippine Maize Federation Inc. (Engr. Roger Navarro); Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (Danilo V. Fausto); United Broilers and Raisers Association (Lawyer Elias Jose Inciong); National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. (Chester Warren Y. Tan); Philippine Eggboard Association Inc. (Irwin M. Ambal); and Philippine Veterinary Medical Association (Corazon P. Occidental).

They said that the impact of COVID-19 pandemic has been severely felt by local meat producers and raisers to include feed millers and even crop planters, dealers, merchants, transporters, workers and helpers among others.

“Allowing the importation of meat and limiting local production in this critical juncture will cause a stoppage in the operations of some farms.  Their production cannot be revived for another 12-18 months,” the groups pointed out.

The organizations said they trust that this is not what the government wants.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar during a press briefing Thursday said that government is only allowing importation of deboned poultry products that cannot be produced by local farmers. 

However, the poultry raisers said “there is an abundant supply of live and frozen meat” to cater to the national demand.