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Pig Producers Seek Marketing Control

by 5m Editor
6 December 2011, at 7:34am

PHILIPPINES - Local hog producers are calling for a “pork revolution“ that would give farmers more control in the distribution and downstream industries.

Edwin Chen, president of the Pork Producers Association of the Philippines, said it is about time for hog raisers to “change the game” and involve themselves in the downstream markets to ensure profit despite the lower farm gate prices of pork.

“We are encouraging our members to put up their own meat shops and sell the pork products at lower prices, and then brand it. This way, we would cut out the middlemen and minimize the chances for undue price manipulation,” Mr Chen said.

Mr Chen said hog raisers, particularly those into backyard farming, were losing P1 billion a month from falling farm gate prices. Backyard hog raisers consist 70 percent of the total swine industry.

At present, farm gate prices are pegged at P80 per kilogram, much lower than the P115 a few months ago, The Manila Times.net reports. The “very low” price of live weight hogs is considered the lowest in the country over the last five years, Mr Chen said.

“Farm gate prices of pork continue to drop, but prices in the market have not been adjusted downward and continue to increase, which is a disadvantage to both farmers and consumers,” Mr Chen said.

The group suspects that some people, including slaughterhouse operators, are manipulating the prices of pork in the market.

The hog raisers called on the Department of Agriculture to reduce the importation of meat and limit imports to curb the growing problem of “technical smuggling” in the country.

“Under the minimum access volume, the amount of pork allowed to enter into the country was around 54 million kilos. But our records showed that as of October 2011, there were already 120 million kilos of pork offal that entered the country. This figure is highly questionable,” Mr Chen said.

Imported meat products are flooding some wet markets in Metro Manila and in the provinces, selling lower than meat sourced from slaughterhouses.

Zosimo de Leon, chairman of the National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc., said there would be enough supply of meat to meet domestic requirement this coming holiday season.

Mr De Leon made the statement amid reports of a 47,590 metric ton deficit in the supply of pork in the fourth quarter, a situation that could extend up to 2012.

“We don’t have a problem with the supply, the problem is that we don’t have enough people buying pork,” Mr de Leon said.

“There is a massive clog in the hog production pipeline, and we are even losing money because we can’t sell our hogs,” he added.