Philippine Hog Raisers Seek Farmgate Floor Price Increase

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

PHILIPPINES - Swine raisers are urging the Philippine government to impose a farmgate floor price of at least PHP83 per kilo for their produce after the price again plunged to as low as PHP70 per kilo.

Nicanor Briones, president of the Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines (ASAP), said his group, comprised of various cooperatives and associations of backyard swine raisers nationwide, made the appeal amid the high cost of pork in the markets which he blamed on haulers and retailers.

"While swine producers have been selling their live produce at 'farmgate' prices of as low as PHP70 per kilo, pork is retailed in wet markets at prices ranging from PHP130 to PHP135 per kilo," he said.

Briones added that the production cost of swine these days is about PHP78 per kilo. But backyard raisers are compelled to sell their hogs for as low as PHP70 per kilo amid fears that farmgate prices would go even lower.

"The problem is that the government has no price control of pork, and the haulers and retailers are the only ones profiting from the swine industry by selling pork for as much as PHP135 per kilo in the market," he said.

He said haulers and retailers add only PHP20 each to the farmgate price of swine for their profit in the past.

Despite the high demand for pork at least among food processors, Briones said farmgate prices have been dropping due to competition from lower-priced Indian carabeef, whose importation reportedly rose by 40 percent this year.

"Carabeef from India is supposed to be used only by food processors, but it continues to flood wet markets," Briones said.

He said food processors now even want the government to push through with the importation of 5,000 metric tons (MT) of pork with tariffs reduced to only 10 percent.

Early this year, swine raisers did not block the importation of 5,000 MT of pork with only 10 percent tariff so as to prevent a shortage of pork and a rise in its prices in the market.

"We will let pigs loose in the Malacanang area in a protest action if the government grants the demand of food processors to import another 5,000 MT of pork with the lowered 10 percent tariff," Briones stated.

His group, whose members traditionally account for 77 percent of the domestic pork supply, has allocated some P2 million for the protest action.

The Pampanga Association of Meat Processors Inc. (Pampro) had earlier requested Mala-canang to allow the importation of 10,000 MT of pork with tariff of only 10 percent, instead of the usual 30 to 40 percent, amid a shortage of local pork.

Hog raisers, however, blocked this move, but agreed to limit importation to only 5,000 MT up to last June 7.

The food processors are now asking the government to allow them to import the remaining 5,000 MT. But their request has not been granted so far.

Last week, Pampro officials met with hog producers in Mindanao to seek more suppliers. However the swine raisers there could supply them with only 250 heads daily.

Meat processors in Pampanga need about 1,500 heads daily to cope with the demand for their products.

"We will definitely object to more importation of pork because that is a mere palliative measure to bring down pork prices. What we need is a long-term solution in strengthening the local swine industry by helping those who produce feeds," he said.

Briones lamented that importations would only further discourage backyard raisers.

"It's an erroneous cycle of importation and shortage because of the lack of support for the production factors in the swine industry," he said.

"The problem with relying on imports is that once the prices abroad go up, or when the supply from foreign countries falls short, we would be helpless," he added.

Briones urged the government to fully support farmers of corn and soya which constitute 75 percent of swine feeds.

He said the price of corn has gone up from PHP9 per kilo to PHP12, and soya from PHP12 to PHP22.

Source: eFeedLink - 12th August 2004

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