Philippine Producers Go to DA for Help

by 5m Editor
4 August 2008, at 10:30am

THE PHILIPPINES - Swine producers in South Cotabato have urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) for funding assistance that would expand accredited piggeries output by 20 percent as Mindanao gears to the looming shipment of cut pork meat products to Singapore.

A refrigerated container van of cut pork meat products is set to be shipped to Singapore soon, the first foreign foray for the country's swine industry.

Emilio V. Escobillo Jr., president of South Cotabato Swine Producers Association, said they are targeting to capture around 25 percent of the Singaporean demand for pork meat products without hurting the domestic market.

"That's why participating farms need the necessary funding for expansion of swine farms to meet our target in Singapore. We are asking the help of the Department of Agriculture to meet the goal," he said.

According to Sun Star, Singapore's daily pork meat requirement reportedly reaches 4,000 per day or 120,000 heads a month.

But Escobillo said that Mindanao could only so far supply about five percent or 6,000 heads a month to Singapore to avoid shortage in the domestic market.

He noted that Singapore is strict on the no anti-biotic requirement of pork meat products, but that participating swine farms are complying with the standards, including adhering to traceability system that shall determine culpability.

Abusama M. Alid, regional Agriculture director, urged the swine producers to submit proposals for expansion project before the agency, as he noted that the country is now ready for the pilot pork shipment to Singapore.

Alid cited that the Agriculture department has been assisting the swine industry in South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos City area to boost trade ties with foreign markets.

One of the interventions of the agency is the construction of a P50-million meat laboratory that was inaugurated last week by Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap, he added.

In May, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore accredited Matutum Meat as the only processor of cut pork meat products in the Philippines allowed to ship in the island state.

"We hope to penetrate other markets in Asia now that we are accredited by Singapore," said Stephen G. Castillo, Matutum Meat general manager, stressing that Singapore's standards serve as the barometer to prick other markets in the Asian region.

Matutum Meat is one of two Mindanao firms earlier identified by the Agriculture department to pioneer the country's venture in the foreign pork market. The other one is the Davao City-based Nenita's Quality Foods Corp.

Nenita's, however, has not been yet cleared by Singapore to supply it with cut pork products.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap has originally targeted the nation's foreign pork shipment to take place in July 2007 after announcing the development earlier in the year.

Matutum Meat, a sister company of Cebu-based Sunpride Foods Inc. which produces Holiday corned beef and Sunpride canned goods, has invested around P200 million for its state-of-the-art processing plant in Polomolok town, about 15 minutes from this city.

5m Editor