Why suit to the interest of American farmers? -Mark Cojuangco

May 2, 2012 at 6:39 pm Leave a comment

By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

Mandaue City, CEBU- Why suit to the interest of the American farmers, and not on what interest us Filipinos particularly on our traditional practices?

This was the question posed by Pangasinan former 5th District Rep. Mark O. Cojuangco before the hog industry leaders and convention attendees during the 21st Hog Convention and Trade Exhibits held at the Cebu International Convention Center last April 20.

Cojuangco’s statements was in reaction to the Administrative Order Nos. 5 and 6 of the Department of Agriculture (DA) which controls the shell life of fresh meat being traded in the country’s market.

The shell life of newly butchered meat is only 8 hours, meaning if a hog is butchered at 4:00 in the morning, at 12:00 noon on the same day, the meat will no longer be sold but processed.

“This is in deference of our customs and traditions. We Filipinos could still cooked the meat beyond the 8 hours period as we are more prone of eating fresh meat and not the frozen ones,” Cojuangco said.

Cojuangco said that with the importation of meat, the backyard hog raisers are losing around P21 billion, a sum of money compared to the administration’s P20 billion for the conditional cash transfer(CCT).

“Unlike the CCT where the government are finding ways for its sources, the income of the backyard hog raisers are already there if only the government will support our hog industry,” Cojuangco said.

He said that under our commitment to the Word Trade Organization (WTO), our minimum volume access (MVA) to importation is pegged at 55 million kilos of meat and yet we have only realized a MVA of 38 million kilos.

“ But what is happening to our importation is that it went beyond the MVA at 169 million kilos, most of which are misdeclared and under valued. This phenomenon is killing our hog industry particularly the backyard industry. It doesn’t have to be so,” Cojuangco further said.

He said that there are many factors affecting the hog industry such as the high cost of feeds particularly the lack of corn that accounts 55% of the feed requirements.

Cojuangco cited the experience in Pangasinan where the corn production was lanched at the last months of 2011 wherein 2000 hectares were planted into yellow corn.

“That was a noble project that could be replicated in other provinces to meet the corn requirements. However, our main big problem is that we have only one cropping season for corn production. If we cold have two-cropping seasons in which DA should look into it, then our corn production will be doubled,” he said.

Cojuangco further said that along with the corn production program, under the share of the province’s tobacco excise tax, two corn dryer facilities are being put up in the municipalities of Alcala and Villasis that can dry 400 to 500 tons of corn daily.

“ With these facilities and the purchase of farm tractors, farmers in Pangasinan could plant corn from June, July, August and up to September to sustaing the corn production needs in the province,” he said.

Cojuangco also lauded Abono Partylist Chair Rosendo O. So for his initiatives in putting up a village type corn processor in Villasis town in Pangasinan including that of using his warehouse in Carmen East, Rosales for a corn processing facility under the National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor).

“These are our infrastructure models. DA should look ways to lessen the cost of production but at the same time increase the income of farmers. These will also assure the hog industry of continuous supply of corn for feed production,” Cojuangco said.

He said that with the problems now facing the hog industry, everything could be resolved.

“The system in the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) is being abused. Secretary Alcala should look into the actions of BAI especially Director (Efren) Nuestro. Indiscriminate traders are being favored on meat importation. Let there be investigation to be conducted. Those found guilty should be removed from their offices,” Cojuangco said.

Entry filed under: News.

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