The Philippines Department of Agriculture is asking poultry and hog producers not to go through with a planned strike, saying that the five-day "chicken and pork holiday" could open the country's domestic market to frozen and imported products.
Poultry and hog growers have warned that they will stage the holiday for a maximum of five days if the government does not make good on its promise to crack down on smugglers of meat who threaten the livelihood of back-yard hog raisers and small-time poultry growers. The National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. said the planned strike is not meant to penalize consumers but is one way of getting their message across to the government.
The increase in the production costs of small poultry growers and hog raisers coupled with the unabated smuggling of meat are crippling the industry, said the National Federation of Hog Farmers. Industry data showed that the hogs sector alone loses around P3.2 billion (US$75.7 million) monthly from unfair competition from imported pig meat. The sector has lost around P12.8 billion (US$302.8 million) in foregone revenues from January 2012 to April 2012.
The agriculture secretary said he is planning to sit with the Department of Finance, Bureau of Customs, local hog raisers, poultry growers and meat importers to “settle once and for all” their disagreement over smuggling.