Meat processing firm eyes Northern Mindanao as procurement areas

Matutum Meat Packing Corp. will tap these areas once the company gains recognition as an industry player, manager Stephen Castillo disclosed.

“Eventually, we are looking at not only servicing the swine industry in Central [Southwestern] Mindanao but those in a 12-hour radius,” he said in a recent interview.

Matutum Meat, a P200-million Filipino-owned company, opened its modern slaughterhouse and meat processing facilities in Polomolok town about a month ago.

The firm’s plant, which is about 20 minutes drive from this premier port city, has an estimated travel distance of 12 hours to Northern Mindanao or Region 10.

Mr. Castillo noted they won’t discriminate backyard-grown pigs from those raised by commercial operators since the demand for fresh pork meat is huge domestically and internationally.

Swine raised by backyard growers will be supplied to the domestic market while those from commercial farms will be shipped abroad, he added.

Matutum Meat, a sister company of Cebu-based Sunpride Foods Inc., is one of two Mindanao firms earlier tapped by the Department of Agriculture for the trial shipment of cut-out pork meat products to Singapore. The other is Nenita Quality Foods Corp.

An estimated 200 metric tons of fresh frozen cut up pork parts are slated to be shipped by Matutum Meat and Nenita starting July until yearend from Mindanao, which was declared by the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) or World Organization for Animal Health as free from the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease

Mr. Castillo 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.

Because the ideal quality meat for export destination is produced by commercial growers, Mr. Castillo advised backyard growers to adjust their feeding practices if they want to ride on the potentials of the foreign market.

Majority of the swine supply in the country is still dominated by the backyard growers.

A 2006 Philippine swine industry report showed that commercial farms shared only 27% of the total swine stock in the country.

Backyard farms account for 73% of the country’s total swine inventory pegged at 13.5 million heads from 2005 to 2006.

Matutum Meat has a capacity of processing 240 pigs an hour.

At full operations, it will handle 200 to 800 heads a day, or probably more depending on the supply and demand chain, through the 120 workers the firm is expected to hire on a regular basis, said Mr. Castillo.