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Gov’t to hike minimum pork imports to 400,000 MT –DA

The government is looking to increase the minimum allowed volume of pork imports this year to augment domestic supply due to the constraints brought by the African swine fever (ASF), the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Tuesday.

This, as the DA expected a pork supply deficit of almost 400,000 metric tons (MT) this year.

“Itong projected pork supply situation for 2021. Ang supply lang dito po sa bansa to include iyong production natin plus beginning stock ay 1.2 million MT to 1.9 million MT,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said during a Palace press briefing.

“Some sectors would give us 1.3 [million MT], iyon ang supply. Ang demand po ay 1.6 plus million metric tons. So may potential deficit ka na almost 400,000 metric tons. So iyon po, mayroon tayo talagang kakulangan within the year so kailangan po ito ay supply augmentation ang tawag,” he said.

With this, the Agriculture chief said the minimum access volume (MAV) advisory council endorsed increasing the MAV for pork from the current 54,000 MT to 388,790 MT.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier approved plans to study the possibility of hiking the country’s pork imports to boost domestic supply.

The MAV advisory council’s endorsed increase in allowed pork import volume is more than the DA’s plan to triple the current MAV.

Minimum access volume refers to the volume of a specific agricultural commodity that may be imported with a lower tariff. This is a commitment of the Philippines to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to facilitate trade between countries.

Apart from increasing the MAV, Dar said there is also a recommendation to allow hog raisers to import pork.

“May mga rekomendasyon kahapon na hindi lang po iyong mga traders ang mabigyan na tiyansa na aangkat, itong panahon na ito which is very short term within the year ay bigyan din ng panahon na mag-angkat iyong may gusto na hog raisers,” he said.

“Mayroon kaming iri-referendum na ngayon doon. May next step pa iyong MAV Management Committee. Anim na departments/Secretaries ang miyembro nito which the DA Secretary chairs kasama po si Sec. Mon Lopez na miyembro, DOF, DOST, Department of Agrarian Reform, so anim po ito. Mayroong referendum to be sent out today to recommend to the President finally itong MAV Plus,” he added. — DVM, GMA News