Singapore exports delayed, but progress being made

PHILIPPINES - A pilot shipment of pork meat to Singapore has been delayed again, while the government prepares the necessary infrastructure needed to support export requirements.
calendar icon 29 October 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

The Philippine Government hopes to get business back on track with renewed efforts to assure food safety and hygiene. Standards have not yet been given the green light by Singaporean food and sanitary experts, who were expected to visit the country in September.

Jose Ariel Billones, regional director of the National Meat Inspection Service-Central Mindanao, said the government is still completing the P20 million meat laboratory facility in Polomolok, South Cotabato.
The target now is to invite Singaporean officials to inspect the facilities related to the swine industry before February.

"We will give the go signal to Singapore once we are ready," he said.

Shipments of pork were postponed because of antibiotic residues. Some farms have had difficulty complying with the withdrawal periods for medication used to treat pigs or within feeds.

Billones said that the government is now pushing for a record system that would trace the owners of pigs should questions arise on the quality of their produce.

Good health status
The Agriculture department early this year monitored two Mindanao firms to pilot the country’s entry into the pork meat export market: the Matutum Meat Packing Corp based in Polomolok town and the Davao City-based Nenita Quality Foods Corp. Mindanao was chosen to initiate the country’s pork export as the island has been certified free from foot-and-mouth disease by both the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) and World Organisation for Animal Health.

Matutum Meat is now in the process of accrediting its Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point and Good Manufacturing Practices.

Abusama Alid, Southwestern Mindanao director of the Department of Agriculture, said the export is expected to encourage the growth of pig production in the area.

“With a successful penetration of the Singaporean market, demand for pigs will eventually increase,” he predicted.

Key to other markets
Stephen Castillo, Matutum Meat manager, believes that the Singaporean market could be lucrative. It would boost the Philippine swine industry and be a useful barometer for other ASEAN nations. “We can then pry open the other foreign markets in the region if we can make it in Singapore. We are confident we can hurdle the standards of Singapore,” he added. Matutum Meat, a sister company of Cebu-based Sunpride Foods, has invested around P200 million in a state-of-the-art processing plant in Polomolok town.

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