Mindanao hogs to be exported to Singapore

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap disclosed this as he also announced the implementation of guidelines and procedures for a comprehensive swine farm inspection system. He said the guidelinesit would try to boost the appeal of the country's meat products in the local and the international market.

Yap told reporters said there have been “serious inquiries” from the Singaporean government on getting the hogs from Mindanao and hog raisers planned an initial shipment in June at a still undetermined volume.

Yap said Nenita Quality Foods Corporation would make the initial shipment, after officials of Singapore's Agriculture and Veterinary Authority (AVA) already inspected its processing plant last year.

It would be the first time the Philippines would export pork to other countries.

David Catbagan, executive director of the DA's Bureau of Animal Industry said the Philippines intends to export meat to other countries too, not only Singapore.

Yap visited the company's processing plant in Toril district today “to show the world that the government has supported Philippine players that are capable of producing world-class meat products”.

Yap said government was keen on opening new markets for Philippine agriculture to assist farmers and spur growth and expansion in the countryside.

He said government would push a packaging of "cut up" meat products to Luzon instead of transporting live swine. He said this was meant to avoid risking the safety of Visayas and Mindanao from food and mouth diseases.

He said transporting live swine would also transport the animal manure that could put at risk the FMD-free status of Mindanao. Yap said the government was capitalizing on the country's FMD-free and Avian Flu-free in its export push.  

Jane Bacayo, national director of the National Meat Inspection Service told MindaNews that the Singaporean authorities would like to ensure “quality production processes, infrastructure, and products before giving a go signal for the importation”. Bacayo said the Singaporean officials would return in April to validate the result of the inspection and finalize approval of target shipment in June.

On disclosing the implementation of the guidelines on swine production, Yap said government would boost confidence of international customers and trading partners in buying meat products from the Philippines.

Yap and NQFC officials made a ceremonial signing of farm inspection and special order documents for the implementation of the guidelines.

Yap said NQFC is a meat packer-producer “that is willing to produce quality meat and meat products”.  NQFC re-launched its "pork-in-a-box" product in time for Yap's visit.

The other hog and meat processors have assured Yap that they would modernize all laboratory testing equipment in the country to make sure that country complies with global standards in disease eradication and containment. Yap said the commitment was made during his meeting with the Hog Export Board last week.

Meanwhile, Yap said government would connect input producers like corn growers with the hog industry.

Yap assured that exportation would augur well for the local market. He said this would have positive impact on the stability of domestic prices of feeds that have been fluctuating at between P130 and P140 per kilo.