Region 12 growers may start exporting pork to UAE, Singapore by next year

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 05 Nov) – The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 12 is eyeing to start by next year the shipment of cut pork meat products from the region to various foreign markets, specifically to overseas Filipino workers in Dubai and other markets in Singapore.

Amalia Jayag-Datukan, DA Region 12 executive director, said Wednesday they are currently exploring a number of export markets as potential destination for local pork products, specifically the packaged “pork-in-a-box.”

She said the DA central office has been negotiating with stakeholders and players of top pork export markets for the entry of shipments from the area.

The agency had identified Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Singapore as potential export destinations of the region’s pork products.

“We are working on this (pork exports) now and hopefully it will materialize soon,” she said in their regular television program Agri Tayo Soccsksargen.

Datukan said Region 12 is currently number one in the entire country in terms of “pork-in-a-box” production.

She said local producers have been regularly shipping “pork-in-a-box” products to Manila, Cebu and other market centers in the country.

“We want our pork-in-a-box products to also reach the foreign markets just like our premium rice,” she said.

She was referring to the organic rice products that are being exported by the region to Dubai, Hong Kong and other export markets.

The rice exports comprise long grain rice, Dinorado or aromatic rice, as well as black, brown and red rice that are produced by farmers in parts of South Cotabato and North Cotabato.

Data from the DA Region 12’s Veterinary Quarantine Services showed that the region produced a total of 124,366 heads of excess hogs in 2013 that were valued at around P1.09 billion.

In terms of pork, the area produced around 12,347 metric tons last year that were valued at P1.97 billion.

About 28 percent of the area’s hog produce ended up at the Matutum Meat Packing Corp (MMPC) based in Polomolok town in South Cotabato, 26 percent to Metro Manila and 13 percent to Cebu.

DA initially forged a deal with Singapore in early 2007 for the shipment of fresh cuts and processed pork meat products from the Makar port here.

The area was chosen by the national government to initiate the country’s pork exports since Mindanao had been certified free from the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease by the Office International des Epizooties or World Organization for Animal Health.

DA had tapped two Mindanao firms – the MMPC and the Davao City-based Nenita Quality Foods Corp. – to pilot the pork exports then.

MMPC, a sister company of Cebu-based Sunpride Foods, Inc. which produces Holiday corned beef and Sunpride canned goods, had invested around P200 million for a state-of-the-art processing plant in Polomolok town.

But the agreement eventually fell through without any single shipment making it to Singapore due to problems with the national government’s policies and the detection of the Ebola Reston virus in a hog farm in Luzon.