The Department of Agriculture (DA) recently issued an executive order that seeks to curb the smuggling of meat by unscrupulous entrepreneurs.
DA’s Administrative Order No. 9 raised the minimum capital requirement for meat importers to P5 million, among other new policies, to discourage meat smuggling.
AO No. 9 also requires new meat importers to submit their audited financial statements to the National Meat Inspection Service) (NMIS) to qualify for accreditation.
Assuaging fears raised by meat processors that the order would trigger prices of meat and meat products, the Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines, Inc. (PPFP) and the National Federation of Hog Farmers, Inc. (NFHF) issued a press release defending the new DA policy.
NFHF President Daniel Javellana said that the increased capital requirement aims to legitimize the system because there used to be undercapitalized fly-by-night meat importers in the past who were allowed to operate . “The new order actually aims to end the loopholes in the process that allows smuggling,” recalling how some unscrupulous meat importers used to falsely declare their shipments of prime-cut meat as offal, which carried a lower tariff of only 5 per cent.
PPFP Head Edwin Chen expressed surprise over the reservations expressed by the Philippine Association of Meat Processors over Administrative Order No. 9, as “AO No,. 9 is the product of a year of consultants. Maybe they forgot that they were present.” He added that the policy would in fact protect legitimate meat processors in particular and the meat industry in general.
He also said that cold storage facility remained in full capacity after the promulgation of the new order, to counter PAMPI’s claim fewer importers would be able to comply with the requirements of the administrative order.
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