Pork producers to P-Noy: Stop Smuggling
THE COUNTDOWN HAS BEGUN
By Yolanda Sotelo
The country’s livestock and other allied industry stakeholders called on President Aquino to take steps to curb smuggling of agricultural products, saying they can no longer sit idly in the dark and wait until the government offers solution.
In a letter, the groups said they have informed Aquino about their primary concern on smuggling but the President has not lifted a finger to stop it.
“Six years is more than enough. If no action is taken immediately, we are ready to pursue other avenues to seek redress,” the letter said.
While they did not tell the President about their plan to hold a pork holiday, or the withdrawal of their meat produce from the market, Abono Partylist group chair Rosendo So said, “the countdown has begun.”
The Abono is one of the groups that signed the letter. The others are the Swine Development Council, Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines, Inc. With 43 group members, the National Federation of Hog Farmers, Inc. (with 12 group members), Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura and Agap Partylist.
They said the entire livestock industry has suffered so much losses, with thousands of backyard raisers losing their livelihoods by the day as smuggling not only continues, but is flourishing.
In the span of six years, the hog inventory from backyard farms significantly dropped from 9.34 million heads in 2010 to 7.95 million heads this year.
“Close to 80,000 backyard raisers and their families have lost their livelihoods. Today, even the stable commercial hog farmers are not spared by smuggling,” they said.
Based on reports from their trading partners, around 202 million kilos of pork were smuggled outright, or through misdeclaration, into the country from 2010 to middle of 2015, translating to P9 billion of lost lost revenues to the government.
“Technical smuggling remains unabated. Of the port imports of 252 million kilos last year, 70 percent of 178 million kilos were declared as offal, rind, fats and skin,” they said.
They added that misdeclaration remained a fertile source of technical smuggling as pork meat, with a total of 40 percent tariff, is misdeclared as offal and other pork parts with a tariff from 5-10 percent.
“Instead of picking up during holidays, farm gate price have even dropped significantly since December of last year, from P105-P110 per kilo to 85-90 kilo. On the other hand, there is steady increase in production cost, especially feeds price,” they said.
“As early as 2012, we have filed our positions with Tariff Commission to increase the tariff rate within the ‘bound rate’ for offal. There were also congressional and senate hearings held to address the foregoing concerns and issues. However, all we got were empty promises from the DA and the BOC,” they said.
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