The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Thursday said the temporary increase in pork imports to fill the supply gap will not “kill” the local hog industry.
“(This) as imports would potentially account for up to 22.8 percent of total consumption,” acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua told the Senate Committee of the Whole.
Chua said the proposal to increase the minimum access volume (MAV) for pork from 54,000 to around 404,000 metric tons by the Department of Agriculture is consistent with the supply deficit estimated by NEDA.
He also cited some experts saying imports will not flood local markets as the African swine fever (ASF) has also affected hog production of many countries.
Chua said the limited cold chain facility in the country serves as a physical barrier to huge importation since the total capacity is only estimated at about 268,000 metric tons allocated for pork given the requirements of other commodities.
“Hence, we think the 404,000 plus metric tons proposed for importation will only gradually enter the country as needed, instead of being imported at the same time, contrary to industry concerns,” he added.
Apart from additional pork imports, Chua pushed for lower tariffs to help fill the deficit, and lower and stabilize retail prices.
He said the large supply deficit has led to a rapid spike in the retail price of pork that pushed meat inflation from 2.9 percent in September 2020 to 19.6 percent on average in the first quarter of 2021.
“Lowering inflation by ensuring adequate supply of pork is very crucial to some 95 million Filipinos who rely on pork for their regular diet amid this pandemic,” he added.