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Ag Department Moves to More Integrated Approach

04 June 2009

PHILIPPINES - Livestock, poultry and feed sectors needs a total approach, says Agriculture Department Secretary, Arthur Yap. The move in linked to a freeing up of trade rules with other ASEAN countries.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it will push for the creation of a National Board to integrate the various livestock and poultry subsectors and come up with a total approach to supply and pricing concerns, especially with regard to feeds, reports Business Mirror of the Philippines.

Agriculture Secretary, Arthur Yap, said he would ask President Arroyo to issue an executive order to create a new and integrated commodity board.

Mr Yap said the board will decide on such crucial matters as the actual import requirements of meat processors to ensure that shipments do not create supply 'surges' that depress farm gate prices. It will also implement intervention programmes in corn areas that supply the requirements of livestock and poultry farms.

Through the board, slaughterhouses will be upgraded to current standards. "Instead of the construction of more slaughterhouses, the DA will now prioritise the upgrading of existing ones," he said in a statement.

Mr Yap said existing slaughterhouses would be equipped with cold-storage plants and cutting floors. The upgrade is targeted at ensuring that slaughterhouses would get a 'AAA' rating.

The government and industry stakeholders agreed on a slew of initiatives the DA hopes to undertake to ensure the stability of the livestock and poultry subsector, according to Business Mirror. Apart from the upgrade of abattoirs, the DA is eyeing to work out a credit facility with the Land Bank of the Philippines for swine raisers to acquire refrigerated trucks. The DA is also looking at persuading buyers to set a floor price of 90 pesos (PHP) per kilo at the farm level.

Business World reports further details and reactions to the announcement. It says that the department will encourage more feed milling and hog- and chicken-growing ventures in corn producing areas and corn planting activities around pig- and chicken-producing areas. Agriculture Assistant Secretary Salvador S. Salacup gave this information in a press release.

"The advantage is it will be easy to source corn. The poultry farmers could also finance corn planting themselves," Carlos B. Mendoza, officer-in-charge executive director of the Livestock Development Council, explained in a phone interview.

Albert R. T. Lim, Jr., president of the National Federation of Hog Farmers, Inc., said in a separate interview: "That will be good because it will reduce long and expensive travel costs."

The poultry, hog and corn industries are bracing for the influx of cheaper duty-free pork, poultry and corn imports from south-east Asian neighbours next year, reports Business World. Under the country's commitment to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Free Trade Area-Common Effective Preferential Tariff, import duties on pork and poultry meat will be cut to less than five per cent next year from 20 per cent currently and 30 per cent last year, while tariffs for corn will drop to below five per cent from the current 35 to 50 per cent.

ThePigSite News Desk



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