Pig Farmers Form New Group for Exports

PHILIPPINES - Producers in Mindanao are coming together to develop the country's export business, initially to Singapore.
calendar icon 13 October 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Emilio V. Escobillo Jr., president of the South Cotabato Swine Producers Association, told Sun Star that at least five swine farms in Mindanao have been accredited so far by the government to ship fresh frozen cut pork parts abroad.

"We are seriously looking at the establishment of an umbrella group to sustain the trading of pork meat outside the country," he said.

Efforts to confirm if the country has started exporting pork to Singapore yielded ambiguous responses from local industry leaders and government agencies involved.

Cathy M. Romero, sales and marketing manager of Matutum Meat Packing Corp., said in a separate interview that the country's pioneer pork export "has taken off ground recently."

Matutum Meat is the only pork processing company in the country accredited by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore to export the product in the island-state.

"But the pork shipment hasn't arrived there yet," Mr Romero said, declining to give further details.

Matutum Meat, a sister firm of Cebu-based Sunpride Foods Inc. which produces Holiday and Sunpride canned goods, has invested around 200 million pesos (PHP) for its state-of-the-art slaughtering facility in neighboring Polomolok town in South Cotabato.

Mr Escobillo did neither confirmed nor denied that a shipment has already taken place.

Raquel T. Cortez Jr., Philippine Ports Authority statistician at the Makar wharf in General Santos City, said there is no record of pork shipment bound for Singapore although Matutum Meat has been shipping to Manila frozen cut pork parts.

Cleofe P. Virtodazo, an official of the National Animal Quarantine stationed at the Makar wharf, said that samples of pork products processed by Matutum Meat have been sent to Singapore for laboratory testing last month.

Mr Escobillo cited the need to consolidate the ranks of accredited swine farms owing to heavy cost of production and shipment, noting that a refrigerated container van carrying 600 to 700 heads would amount to some PHP4-5 million.

At low-end estimates, at least PHP50 million will be needed to sustain the export of cut pork products to Singapore, he added.

Although he did not name the accredited swine farms, Mr Escobillo said three are found in South Cotabato and one each in the cities of Davao and General Santos.

These farms were accredited after passing the traceability and antibiotic residue tests, he said.

Mr Escobillo noted that penetrating a foreign market would help stabilize the farmgate prize of live pigs, which is being dictated by traders in Manila.

"With a foreign market, this will not only benefit the large swine farms but also the backyard growers," he explained to Sun Star.

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