Early this year, Agriculture Sec. Arthur Yap announced the country will ship out pork meat products to Singapore by July.
It was delayed due to lack of go signal from Singaporean food and sanitary experts who were expected to visit the country in September. The target shipment was then reset to October.
Jose Ariel Billones, regional director of the National Meat Inspection Service-Central Mindanao, said the government is still completing the P20 million meat laboratory facility in Polomolok, South Cotabato.
“Our target is to invite Singaporean experts by February to inspect the facilities related to the local swine industry. The meat laboratory is now about 47% complete,” he said.,
“We will give the go signal to Singapore once we are ready,” he said.
Billones said the initial shipment did not push through because of the discovery that some farms had swine with antibiotic residue attributed to either the drugs or feeds used to nurture the pigs.
Billones said they are also putting in place a record system that would trace owners of pigs should there be questions on the quality of their produce.
Efforts to convene swine producers in the area will also be pursued to strengthen their ranks, he noted.
The Agriculture department early this year tapped two Mindanao firms to pilot the country’s foray into the pork meat export market: the Matutum Meat Packing Corp based in Polomolok town and the Davao City-based Nenita Quality Foods Corp.
Billones said that Matutum Meat is in the process of compliance for its Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point and Good Manufacturing Practices.
Abusama Alid, Southwestern Mindanao director of the Department of Agriculture, said the agency expects the looming pork meat export to enhance the growth of the swine industry in the area.
“With a successful penetration of the Singaporean market, demand for pigs would eventually surge,” he predicted.
Last year, prospective Singaporean pork buyers visited South Cotabato province to scout for suppliers.
Stephen Castillo, Matutum Meat manager, earlier noted that if the Singaporean market will be successfully penetrated, it would boost the swine industry of the country since Singapore’s standards serve as the barometer for other ASEAN nations.
“We can then pry open the other foreign markets in the region if we can make it in Singapore. We are confident we can hurdle the standards of Singapore,” he added.
Matutum Meat, a sister company of Cebu-based Sunpride Foods, Inc. which produces Holiday corned beef and Sunpride canned goods, has invested around P200 million for its state-of-the-art processing plant in Polomolok town.
Mindanao has been chosen by the national government to initiate the country’s pork export since the island has been certified free from the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease, the recognition coming from the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) or World Organization for Animal Health. (MindaNews)