The United Broiler Raisers Association (UBRA) is urging the Department of Agriculture (DA) to seek legislation that will give the agency the power to control meat importations when the local industry suffers an oversupply.
UBRA president Elias Jose Inciong and chairman Gregorio San Diego Jr. made this appeal to DA Secretary William Dar in an open later dated July 2, 2020.
UBRA said previous DA leaderships were able to provide solutions to similar problems.
“(Then DA) Secretary Edgardo Angara was able to suspend imports in 2000 when the industry was in mortal danger from unfair competition and smuggling. Supervening events, however, clearly show that the present DA is not so inclined ostensibly because of our World Trade Organization commitments. While we disagree with this decision, we have no choice but to accept our present reality and leave it all to prayer,” the UBRA officials said.
But they said the DA can lead a legislative effort to seek clear authority for the agriculture secretary to be allowed in certain circumstances to suspend importation.
UBRA said lockdowns had affected demand for both pork and chicken meat.
Citing data from the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), the group said locally produced meats occupy more spaces in cold storages compared to imported, signifying lower demand.
As of June 22, the NMIS data showed dressed chicken inventory in cold storages was at 85,759.25 metric tons (MT) of which 42,487.29 MT are from local producers while the remaining 43,271.96 MT are imported.
The total is 138 percent higher from a year ago’s 35,913.54 MT comprised of 11,054.11 MT from local producers while 24,859.43 MT were imported.
UBRA said dressed chicken inventory in cold storages as of March 16, the start of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), stood at 53,518.66 MT of which 21,363.39 MT are from local producers while the remaining 32,155.27 MT are imported.
The total is only percent 5 percent higher from a 2019’s 50,949.46 MT comprised of 20,251.56 MT from local producers while 30,697.90 MT were imported.
Total pork inventory in cold storages as of June 22 stood at 47,743.17 MT of which 9,764.84 MT are from local producers while the remaining 37,978.33 MT are imported.
The total figure is only 7 percent higher from last year’s 44,232.22 MT broken down into 3,306.67 MT from local raisers and the remaining 40,925.54 MT from imports.
Compared to March 16, or at the start of the ECQ, pork inventory in cold storages stood at 35,388.40 MT, with 6,042.21 MT coming from domestic producers while 29,346.40 MT were imported.
This is 12 percent lower compared to 2019’s total of 40,406.70 MT that were filled up by 2,147.25 MT from the country’s own hog raisers and the remaining 38,259.46 MT from foreign sellers.