Monday, 25 July 2011

Philippines expected to start exporting pork in August


IF ALL GOES WELL, the Philippines could start exporting pork to Malaysia next month, marking the country’s first overseas shipment of this product, an official of the Agriculture department said on Friday last week.

Agriculture Assistant Secretary Davinio P. Catbagan told reporters that the department expects shipment to Malaysia of pork cuts from about 1,000 hogs a week to start next month.
“Our target is the first or second week of August for 1,000 hogs to be shipped there (Malaysia), because the slaughterhouse is being corrected for some minor deficiencies,” Mr. Catbagan said, clarifying in a separate phone interview yesterday that “the hogs will be slaughtered here; it is pork cuts that will be shipped.”

“This is our first official export of pork,” he stressed yesterday.

He identified the Philippine exporter as meat processor Rombe Philippines, Inc., but declined to name the Malaysian importer.

He said the Malaysian firm wanted some changes to Rombe’s plant in Pulilan, Bulacan before shipments were to start.

Commenting in May on ongoing talks then between the two companies, Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala had cited the need in Malaysia, a predominantly Islamic country, for pork in tourism establishments there.

Mr. Catbagan said that if the shipment proceeds, the Philippines could look for more overseas markets for local pork.

For instance, he said, the country’s agriculture attaché has brought pork cuts to Dubai to check demand there. “These will serve as samples for prospective clients there,” he said.
Upon verifying demand for commercial quantities, the next step would be for government to link prospective buyers with local processors and farms that have the supply, Mr. Catbagan said.

In May, the country received certification from the World Organization for Animal Health that it is completely free of foot-and-mouth disease, without need for vaccination.
In December 2009, what was to be the country’s first pork shipment -- to Singapore -- was voluntarily suspended by a company in Matutum, South Cotabato after the detection of Ebola Reston in a farm in Luzon. -- LDD

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