Philippines plans to triple pork imports as local prices soar


The Philippines is aiming to triple pork imports this year, the agriculture minister said on Monday, after domestic prices jumped more than 50% from a year earlier as African swine fever decimated hog populations


The Southeast Asian country, the world’s seventh-biggest pork importer before local demand fell due to the pandemic, plans to lift purchases to 162,000 tonnes, Agriculture Secretary William Dar told a media briefing.

The Philippines mainly imports pork from Canada, the United States, France, the Netherlands, and Spain.

Philippine pork production was estimated to have dropped 20% last year as the highly infectious disease prompted the culling of more than 300,000 pigs, or about 3% of the hog population, based on government data.

“We are studying tripling the current minimum access volume of 54,000 metric tonnes per year”

“We are studying tripling the current minimum access volume of 54,000 metric tonnes per year,” Dar said, adding an initial 54,000 tonnes should arrive by February or March.

Pork prices have been particularly high in the capital region as the animal disease was mostly detected in farms on the main Luzon island.

Philippine inflation started creeping up in the last quarter of 2020, traced mainly to higher food prices, particularly meat and vegetables as powerful typhoons also hampered supplies.

To keep inflation in check, Dar said the government has decided to postpone a scheduled increase in tariffs for chicken imports to 40% and it would stay at 5% this year.

Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz Editing by Ed Davies

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