By Alithea De Jesus
With a campaign promise of President Rodrigo Duterte to make the Philippines the “Food Basket of the Region”, the elusive vision is yet to achieve as the country continues to import pork, chicken and agricultural products that affected the local farmers and producers.
In the early first quarter of 2021, the Department of Agriculture under the tutelage of Secretary William Dar recommended to increase the Minimum Access Volume (MAV) of pork imports for this year. From 54,210 metric tons to 254,210 MT almost a 5 times increase.
Cognizant of this alarming situation that inevitably affected not just consumers but also the producers, the Philippine Feed Millers Association of the Philippines (PAFMI) expressed its support to the swine industry’s recently and launched the campaign, “Eat Pinoy Pork”, which calls on consumers to patronize locally produced pork over imported ones.
“Over the last two years, we were faced with challenging situations that brought our local hog raisers and feed millers to their knees. This is high time for our consumers to realize that they, too, play a crucial role in the recovery of the industry. We support the ‘Eat Pinoy Pork’ campaign in the hopes of encouraging our fellow Filipinos to buy and eat our local pork products,” said PAFMI President Edwin Mapanao.
“Eat Pinoy Pork” is a social media campaign spearheaded by the Pork Producers Federations of the Philippines, Inc.’s (ProPork). Launched in September, the one-year campaign highlights the benefits of consuming local pork with its main messaging “Mas Malinis, Mas Masarap ang Sariwa!”
“We started this campaign because we saw how our local pork industry struggled in the past months. As a leader of the 48 pork-producing affiliates in the country, it is our responsibility to protect our industry, especially our local hog raisers, farmers, and the other allied partners in the supply chain,” said Engr. RolandoTambago, president of ProPork.
According to ProPork, local pork meat production for 2021 is expected to be at 1,140,000 MT which is lower than the 1,608,000 MT last 2020. This slump is due to weak pork demand and the arrival of imported pork at lower tariff rates. The situation is further exacerbated by the slowdown in consumer spending because of the pandemic. Tambago feared that this could discourage local hog raisers in the long run and stop their operation.
“On behalf of our industry partners and allied organizations in the agriculture sector, I would like to call on our consumers to buy and eat Pinoy pork. ‘Eat Pinoy Pork’ is more than just a campaign but a movement to support and uplift the agriculture sector in these trying times,” said
Tambago noted that the consumers’ continued support of local pork products can go a long way in empowering the supply chain value. This includes the corn farmers, feed millers, hog raisers, meat vendors, butchers, drivers, as well as veterinarians, and feed nutrition specialists.
“With our consumers’ help, every kilo of local pork product bought from the market can make a big difference in the lives of our food producers,” said Tambago.
Backing the campaign, PAFMI has vowed to support all measures that will improve the agriculture sector and ensure the country’s food-producing capabilities, including Eat Pinoy Pork campaign. The organization is committed to working with the government in formulating
inclusive policies ensuring reliability and consistency in the supply of raw materials needed for hog feeds.
PAFMI is the oldest and biggest group of feed millers in the Philippines. The 35-member organization produces about 70 percent of the country’s total animal feeds. To know more about PAFMI, check out their official Facebook page.