Hog raisers on Monday called on President Aquino to immediately implement measures that will stop the smuggling of agricultural commodities, such as pork.
In an open letter to the president, hog raisers said the “unabated” smuggling of farm commodities has caused hog inventory from backyard farms to drop to 7.95 million heads this year, from 9.54 million heads
“In a span of six years, close to 80,000 backyard hog raisers and their families have lost their source of livelihood. Today even the once viable commercial hog farms are not spared by smuggling,” the letter read.
Hog raisers noted that around 202 million kilograms of pork were smuggled outright, or through misdeclaration, into the country from 2010 to mid-2015, translated into about P9 billion in lost revenues for the government.
“Technical smuggling remains unabated. Of the total pork imports of 252 million kg last year, 70 percent, or 178 million kilos, were declared as offal, fats, rind and skin,” the letter read.
To stop the smuggling of agricultural commodities, hog raisers asked Mr. Aquino to strictly enforce the “quarantine first policy” before payment of duties under Republic Act 10611.
Hog raisers also asked the government to implement the following:
- 100-percent quarantine test and inspection at the port of first entry on all pork/meat imports with declared 5 percent-to-10 percent tariff; all imports of the top 10 meat importers of the previous year; and all imports coming from first-time importers;
- More stringent and transparent criteria for the accreditation of importers;
- Strict implementation of the labeling requirements;
- Immediate signing of the president of the approved bill that defines smuggling of agricultural commodities as an act that constitute economic sabotage;
“For the first time, we, from the livestock industry and allied sectors, have put up a united front and are raising our collective voice in calling the Aquino administration to finally put an end to smuggling,” the letter read.
The open letter was signed by various groups, including the Swine Development Council, Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines Inc., the National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. and the Samahang Industrya ng Agrikultura.