The Philippine government has seized 100 million pesos of contraband food products from countries like China and Germany.
This despite the country’s current ban on pork and poultry products from China and on pork imported from Germany.
On Thursday, the Economic Intelligence Sub-Working Group (STG-El) of the Government Food Security Working Group conducted an anti-smuggling operation in a vacant lot along Guillermo Street, Brgy . Village of San Rafael, town of Navotas.
STG-El is made up of DA, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Intelligence Coordination Agency (NICA), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Philippine National Police ( PNP).
The operation resulted in the seizure of 12 refrigerated vans (reefer) containing an assortment of frozen pork, beef, jumbo shrimp, eel, black chicken, crayfish, peking duck, dori fish fillet , estimated to be worth 100 million pesos.
Based on the markings on the boxes, shipments came from Vietnam, China, Germany and Belgium, according to the Agriculture Ministry.
As a reminder, pork products from Germany are still not allowed to enter the Philippines after the European country reported its first case of African swine fever (ASF) in September last year, when it was not until November of last year when the DA lifted the ban on importing pork from Belgium.
This, while an import ban has been in place on pork and poultry products from China to prevent the entry of animal diseases like ASF, foot-and-mouth disease and avian influenza, which have long affected the pork and poultry sectors. of the second largest economy in the world.
The seizure of the aforementioned contraband products came at a time when there is growing concern about the pro-import stance of the Development Agenda and how this could lead to the entry of animal diseases into the country.
As a reminder, there is now a plan for the government to reduce import tariffs as well as increase the Minimum Access Volume (VAC) allocation on pork in order to bring down meat prices in the country. .
This against a backdrop of declining livestock and poultry production due to the prevalence of ASF and COVID-19 lockdown restrictions since last year. As a reminder, livestock recorded a production decline of -23.2 percent in the first quarter of this year amid ASF prevalence. It represented 14.2 percent of total agricultural production.
Double-digit declines in production were especially recorded for pigs at -25.8 percent and cattle at -10.2 percent.
Poultry production also fell by -7.4 percent. It contributed 13.3% to total agricultural production in the first quarter of 2021.
The President of the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI), Danilo V. the entry of more imported pork into the country as part of the measures to lower the prices meat.
“Focusing on the consumer rather than production is bad policy that will hurt our agricultural sector in the long run,” Fausto said.
Then there is also the unsystematic control of ASF by the government and the unclear biosecurity measures implemented by DA, including the first border check for imported meat, Fausto added.
“Local production will not be able to compete due to the high cost of inputs compared to subsidized inputs of meat imported from their country of origin. [This is] made worse by lower tariffs which further widened the margins of meat importers, ”Fausto said.
“It is also expected that unless price control measures are implemented for imported meat, the importer will surely take advantage of the margins of the very low landed cost of the imported meat and is unlikely to pass on the lows. imported prices of pork to consumers. ,” he added.
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