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Philippine Hog Producers Assure No Pork Price Increase

by 5m Editor
17 August 2004, at 12:00am

PHILIPPINES - The president of the South Cotabato Swine Producers Association (Socospa) Inc. has assured the public that the ongoing phase out in the swine industry will not result to an increase in the retail price of pork.

Socospa president James Chua said prices of pork should not be more than PHP120 per kilo.

He also allayed fears there would be shortage of pork in the next 12 months because they expect prices to go down "considering that it's a closing sale."

Chua announced last week that hog raisers and swine producers throughout the country have already started closing out their farms in the face of huge losses.

Swine producers have been asking the government to see to it that gradual phase out will be orderly as there is a "rush for raisers to get out of business."

Hog raisers throughout the country said they would instead concentrate on importation of pork in the face of increasing production costs and foreign competition.

They are now asking the government to gradually lower tariffs imposed on imported pork and bring it to zero level "once the pig farms are gone."

Chua said it is too late to reverse the virtual death of the swine industry.

"We are no longer financially capable to stay in the business," Chua said in a statement.

He said most of the pig farm owners are heavily indebted to the banks and financial institutions.

"Our creditors are already very impatient with us," Chua explained.

The hog raisers declined to comment on the implications of their decision to shut down their farms.

Sources here fear the collapse of the local swine industry would have serious economic repercussions on the agriculture sector and other ancillary industry.

Sources said up to 800,000 workers are directly and indirectly dependent on the swine industries.

This does not include corn and coconut farmers who ware dependent on the livestock industry as primary market of their produce.

Chua said there is "no incentive for raising contented pigs for discontented owners and consumers."

The Socospa president also added the swine industry "could no longer subsidize other ailing agricultural sectors because it only resulted to higher production costs.

The hog raisers said the only way the government could restart the swine industry is to set aside economic zone for the livestock industry.

But they also said it would be a tall order for the government to allow the operation of an exclusive economic zone where hog raisers will be allowed to import raw materials at zero tariffs "to level the playing field."

The hog raisers chose South Cotabato as the venue to announce their decision to shut down their farms "because it (the province) is the birthplace of Philippine commercial pig farming."

"We are asked to announce its untimely death in the place of its birth" Chua added.

Source: eFeedLink - 17th August 2004

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