Gov't may lift ban on pork exports from Mindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/08 November) — Government is eyeing the possibility of lifting its self-imposed ban on pork exports, which was triggered by the discovery of an ebola case in Luzon.

Dr. Rafael Mercado, chief of the livestock division of the Department of Agriculture (DA), said the government is now opening the possibility of lifting the self-imposed ban, at least for Mindanao exporters, after no known clinical case of ebola has been reported in the country in the past years and that the only reported case has developed “anti-bodies” against the disease.

Mercado said that at least five Mindanao hog exporters, who had passed biosafety standard testing by Singapore in 2008, were affected by the ban.

“Although the virus was discovered in Luzon, the Philippine government declared a self-imposed ban on pork exports, which affected products from Mindanao,” he said.

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has been initiating dialogs with the Davao Hog Raisers Association in the previous weeks to hear the sentiment of the industry about the government’s self-imposed ban, which affected Mindanao exporters.

“The fact that the government is initiating these talks means that the government is open about the possible lifting of the ban,” Mercado told reporters Monday.

“The five Mindanao pork exporters, two of them from Davao and three from General Santos City, have already passed Singapore’s biosafety standard, and Singapore was already prepared to accept their products,” he said.

Exports from the five companies were put on hold following the reported case of ebola in Luzon and the government’s self-imposed ban.

Mercado said the lifting of the self-imposed ban will hopefully open the Singapore market to more Philippine products. At least five Mindanao companies passed the tests by Singapore companies wanting to import top quality pork products from the Philippines.

“The market for Singapore is very big, considering that importing companies only process their products for export to different parts of the world,” he said.

“Considering how huge that market will be, there will be a multiplier effects on the local hograising industry,” he told reporters.

Mercado also said that Mindanao has been foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)-free since 2000, but since it is part of the archipelago, it could not escape the declaration from importing countries which have not yet classified the entire country as FMD-free.

He said that it was also reflected in the case of the Mindanao hog raisers whose quality has already passed Singapore’s rigorous standard but were not allowed to export because of the country’s self-imposed ban following the discovery of ebola cases in Luzon in 2008. (Germelina Lacorte/MindaNews)