MANILA -- Malacañang on Thursday allayed fears of pork shortage as concerned government agencies are addressing reported rampant smuggling of pork in the country.
Several hog raisers warned to go on a week-long nationwide "pork holiday" to protest the rampant smuggling of pork.
But Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that various government agencies have joined forces to address the issue.
"We assure the public that there is no pork shortage. We are addressing their concerns right now," he said.
Lacierda said the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Finance, the Bureau of Customs and other concerned government agencies have started implementing measures to eradicate the reported technical smuggling.
He said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala has been meeting with the hog and poultry raisers to address their concerns.
He added that Alcala ordered the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) to check the markets for smuggled meat.
Aside from smuggling, the hog raisers also raised their concerns over pork importations that have led to the displacement of some 20 percent of hog farmers in just three years. This development has forced many backyard farmers to suspend and even close down operations.
Aquino earlier said the government and industry stakeholders, along with farmers, should partner to reduce the cost of producing hogs, particularly the cost of animal feeds and its main ingredient, yellow corn in a bid to make the country’s hog industry competitive with the export market.
The President said the hog raisers should have a direct linkage or partnership agreement with corn farmers, and he assured that the government continues to provide assistance to hog raisers by implementing policies and providing needed capital from the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)