The series of import bans imposed by the Philippine government on pork and poultry products coming from different countries may result in costlier Christmas for meat loving Filipinos.
An official from the Meat Importers and Traders Association (MITA) said this as the Department of Agriculture (DA) signed an order reminding local traders and importers that importation of pork products coming from Germany is still not allowed after the European country reported its first case of African Swine Fever (ASF).
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said DA finalized the memo that will reiterate the country’s import ban on pork from Germany due to ASF.
Germany, which confirmed its first ASF outbreak last week, is one the Philippines’ top suppliers of affordable raw pork material.
In July last year, the DA banned the entry of pork products coming from Germany after its neighbor country, Poland, reported its first ASF outbreaks.
At that time, the Philippine government already issued an import ban against Poland but pork shipments coming from there still managed to make it through Philippine borders.
DA officials were saying it entered the Philippines after the shipment declared Germany as its port of origin.
The ban made Germany the first country that can’t be allowed to import pork to the Philippines even if it remains free from the deadly hog disease.
In 2018, the Philippines imported nearly 90 million kilograms of meat from Germany.
For his part, Jesus Cham, President of MITA, said the DA should “revise” its decisions when it comes to these import bans, including those recently imposed importation suspension against Brazilian and Australian poultry meat, as this might make the country “unreliable trading partner” internationally.
Moreover, he emphasized that due to rising cases of ASF in the Philippines and amid the import bans on poultry meat coming from different countries, pork and poultry products may be costlier during the Christmas season.
“The poultry ban on Germany, then Brazil and Australia, is curtailing the supply of MDM [mechanically deboned meat] products so we expect canned meat supply to decrease and prices to increase [during Christmas season],” Cham said in a text exchange.
“Local pork is already short and expensive. Local poultry, while apparently plentiful now, can easily be ‘eaten’ up should consumption turn around,” he added
For his part, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) Chairperson Rosendo So doesn’t necessarily agree that pork and poultry prices will increase due to supply issues amid lower importation.
The current supply of local chicken may even last until next year,” So said in a separate interview.
“The problem with pork is the distribution problem. There’s a shortfall in Luzon, the hardest hit region when it comes to ASF, while there is a surplus in Visayas and Mindanao,” he added.
Local consumption of pork is 15 kilograms per capita per month, while it is 8.2 kilograms per capita per month for chicken.