Rising pork prices due to decline in number of backyard raisers, tight global supply

MANILA-- Hog raisers on Wednesday maintained the increase in the retail price of pork was a direct result of the sharp decline in the number of pigs being raised by backyard hog raisers and the global supply pressure of pork.

According to the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG), for the past six years, backyard hog raisers were losing out against smuggling and the misdeclaration of pork meat as offal, which has a lower tariff (5 percent) as compared to 40 percent tariff of pork meat.

Last year, backyard hog growers were raising 7,958,930 heads (pork). This year, hogs being raised by backyard hog farmers were down to 7,750,400, or lower by 208,530 heads (pork).

Despite the decrease, backyard hog raisers still account for 64 percent of the hog industry, while commercial hog producers only account for 36 percent.

There is also tightness in the global supply of pork as China alone needs to import close to 3 million metric tons of pork for this year.

To augment the supply shortage of pork, Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol earlier announced the issuance of import permit to cover 7 million kilos of pork. However, a month after, there are still no takers given the spike in the price of pork at the global market.

Rather than blame hog farmers for the rising pork prices, SINAG is urging the DA chief to initiate programs that will revive and revitalize the backyard hog industry.

"Una na rito ay ang pamimigay nang mga inahin na aalagaan nang mga backyard raisers," argued SINAG Chair Rosendo So.

So said the DA should now realize the folly of relying on imports and the vulnerable global market to meet the country's food demands; and instead launch incentive programs to local hog raisers and implement policies that will further develop the local hog industry.

"The hog industry, with millions of producers and allied industries is not a cartel; hence hog farmers cannot impose price caps/price ceilings at the farmgate level," he stressed, adding that hog farmers also "have no influence on the retail price of pork."

Farmgate prices have remained unchanged for the past weeks while retail prices continue to increase.

The difference at the farmgate to retail prices should only be around PHP70/kilo to cover the costs of the other players in the industry, like the viajeros, traders, wholesalers and retailers.

These other costs include transport and delivery, shrinkage and dressing losses, slaughter cost, inspection fees, handling, stall rentals, market fee and labor costs.

Source: Philippines News Agency