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Friday, September 30, 2011

P1 billion earmarked to build up pork, chicken production

Government is setting aside a total of P1 billion in fresh funding to support the National Livestock Program, which is geared towards securing the country’s food supply, particularly of pork and chicken, at stable and affordable prices.

The amount is P318 million, or 47 percent, greater than this year’s P682-million allocation for the program, and contained in the proposed General Appropriations Act for 2012, according to Rep. Arnel Ty, of the sectoral party LPG Marketers’ Association (LPG-MA).

“One-half of the new spending will be invested in production support and post-harvest facilities and equipment, such as biogas digesters, dairy processing plants, cold storage, and abattoirs,” Ty, a member of the House committee on trade and industry, said.

“We expect these critical inputs to help lessen post-production losses, and improve the quality and safety of meat and poultry products in our palengke and supermarkets,” he said.

The livestock and poultry sectors are projected to produce 2.0 million metric tons of hog and another 1.5 million metric tons of chicken next year.

The sectors also cover carabao, cattle, goat, dairy, duck as well as chicken and duck eggs.

“Strong livestock and poultry production at all times is the best way for us to keep food prices, including those of processed meat, within reach of ordinary consumers,” Ty pointed out.

“Processed meat intake in particular is on the rise. Families don’t have the time to prepare their meals anymore. Even poverty-stricken homes are consuming more processed meat simply because they don’t have means to quickly cook their food,” he added.

Ty also expressed confidence the extra spending would prop up the backyard livestock and poultry industries.

“Small livestock and poultry raisers are augmenting household incomes and creating extra jobs in the countryside. They deserve strong support,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ty stressed the need for the authorities to step up efforts to curb the smuggling of imported meat, which he said has been hurting local livestock growers.

“Highly aggressive enforcement is key to reducing the smuggling of imported meat, some of which end up in the palengke. Since they are being brought in without paying the correct amount of import duties and taxes, they compete unfairly with locally produced meat,” he said. LPG-MA

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