Bid to export meat products from Region 12 revived

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/27 June)– The departments of Agriculture (DA) and the Trade and Industry (DTI) in Region 12 are reviving efforts to land the area’s meat products in Asian markets.

Amalia Datukan, DA Region 12 director, asked livestock growers, meat processors and other private organizations in the region to work closely with government agencies in the bid to penetrate foreign markets.

Representatives of the DA and DTI from the different parts of the country recently conducted a two-day National Meat (Fresh and Processed) Cluster Harmonization and Convergence Workshop in General Santos City to discuss strategies to penetrate the global meat market.

“We need to reinvigorate the standing of our products to compete in the global market by offering fresh and processed meat products that are of high quality,” Datukan said in a statement.

Davinio Catbagan, DA assistant secretary for livestock, said the agency is still in the process of reviewing the national livestock road map that will guide the development of the country’s livestock and poultry industries.

The DA regional office said that there is “huge export potential for pork products among Asian countries, and goat meat to Middle East countries and other Islamic states.”

Domestically, demand for beef and pork products are also increasing due to the country’s rising population, it added.

Dr. John B. Pascual, DA-12 livestock coordinator, particularly identified Dubai in the United Arab Emirates as a possible market for pork meat products.

He said that consultations will be conducted with the region’s meat producers and processors in line with the agency’s meat export program.

Last year, the DA-12 initially identified Dubai as the shipment destination of “pork-in-a-box” products.

It has already accredited hog farms in Region 12 that would supply the potential foreign shipment.

These farms are located in the cities of General Santos and Koronadal in South Cotabato province, and one of them was identified as the Progressive Farms, Inc., one of the piggeries under the Lucio Tan Group of Companies.

In December 2008, the country should have its first foreign pork shipment to Singapore had it not been for the detection of the Ebola Reston virus in a hog farm in Luzon.

Hog raisers in Mindanao, though far from Luzon, were all set for that shipment when the Agriculture department ordered its abortion.

The Matutum Meat Packing Corp, which is based in Polomolok, South Cotabato, was cleared by Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority to ship the pork meat products in the island-state.

It is the only Triple A slaughterhouse in the area.

Domestically, hog farms in Region 12, also called the Soccsksargen region, supply the markets in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao and in the provinces of Samar and Leyte. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)