July 4, 2020
Facilities for the First Border Inspection (FBI) in the five major international ports will be put up this year by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) to bolster inspection control on infected meat imports and on critical laboratory test kits and disinfectants.
Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William D. Dar has committed to construct the FBI customs facilities in 5 international ports in response to such private sector recommendations.
The Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Fisheries Inc. (PCAFI) and United Broilers Association (UBRA) complained against Philippines’ infection of African swine flu (ASF) and avian flu due to infected, poorly inspected meat imports.
PCAFI and UBRA complained that more diseases and more mis-declared meat importation will happen with the FBI customs facilities. This is also depriving government of huge revenue from meat importation taxes along with destroying the entire livestock and poultry industries with diseases.
In order to further boost animal production – cattle, carabao—without needing to import animals, DA will distribute semen straws under the Unified National Artificial Insemination Program, Dar said in a letter to PCAFI President Danilo V. Fausto.
DA and the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) also plan to invest in biosecurity measures to more adequately provide for Cold Storage Warehouses. It will keep poultry and livestock products’ quality for a long time.
“Investment in biosecurity is a necessity and may be part of the new normal,” said Dar in the letter.
Dar said DA is also asking linking farmers and farm producers with buyers including big manufacturers that need farm raw material inputs. The link is also with local government units (LGUs).
“The secretary has always been vocal encouraging our meat processors to source raw meat from local producers especially in this time of crisis where imports are restricted. He also asked LGUs to consider buying chicken and eggs directly to the poultry raisers and include these in food subsidy packs for distribution.”
DA has asked Cebu to lift ban on transport of hogs and pork products so as to allow more buying of farmers’ goods. Southern Leyte has already lifted a similar ban on transport of pork and related products from General Santos City and South Cotabato.
Transport of pork and meat products from Visayas and Mindanao to bigger markets in Luzon is under way to help stabilize supply and prices in Metro Manila.
“The Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita is the main platform to address market and logistical support. It is not just in NCR (National Capital Region), but in other regions. Aside from different marketing modalities, it includes rentals of delivery trucks and cold storages, and use of the Food Terminal Inc as depot.”
While no specific timelines have been indicated for their implementation, some of which have been plans of DA and its attached agencies for many decades, here are the other commitments of Dar in response to PCAFI’s reform recommendations:
- Implementation of the Fisheries Resiliency Project including 1. Urban aquaponics; 2. enhanced aquaculture and sustainable capture fisheries in inland waters; and 3. fish production support program for the rehabilitation of disrupted fish supply chain.
- Provision of the National Dairy Administration (NDA) for insurance coverage of dairy animals during calamities and disease outbreaks, and a stimulus budget or capital for the production of Total Mix Ration (TMR).
- The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) is also expanding its dairy business. The private sector, though, believes this is not the business of government. PCC will provide assistance in consolidation and marketing of milk production to farmers.. It will encourage local milk companies to buy local produce as input to their processing of high value milk products (powdered, canned).
- Bureau of Plant Industry will distribute seeds and planting materials and will implement border control and quarantine measures to also prevent entry of imported plant diseases and pests.
- White corn will be produced to raise food security and input supply for feeds for livestock and poultry.
- Engagement in feasibility studies on use of copra as ingredient in animal feed to enrich protein content. It is under a program of Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and National Livestock Program. PCA will also produce feed grade copra and coconut oil in Coconut Hubs. Equipment will be provided to beneficiaries.
- Palm oil production will be integrated with animal production as a response to Covid 19 crisis. The NLP and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources are also studying the use of fish oil and fish meal in animal feeds.
- P400 million “Balik PRobinsya” that will allow urban transferees to engage in integrated farming (entrepreneurial agri-fisheries).
- Increase on premium to P20,000 by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp (PCIC) to cover cost of agricultural damages of farmers during typhoons and related calamities and important, pests and diseases infestation. DA only “partially” covers cost of production inputs now for palay production.
“PCIC’s rice insurance will be provided free to rice farmers listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA).” Insurance coverage is P20,00 per hectare for a maximum of 3 hectares per farmer.
- P400 million will be proposed under the Expanded Production for High Value Crops (vegetable, spices, fruits, and root crops). Urban agriculture will be promoted to further boost food security and nutritional security via vegetable production. This is also in response to the Covid 19 crisis.
- Pump irrigation systems such as those from open source, shallow tube wells, and engine sets will be put up to deliver fast irrigation systems. Fertilizers will also be distributed.
- The Agricultural Guarantee Fund Pool (AGFP) will be strengthened to mitigate risks in agricultural lending. This function as transferred to the Philippine Export Import Credit Agency’s (Philexim) implementation with the expectation of higher efficiency guarantee program.
- Strengthening of the Agri 4Ps (Plant Plant Plant Program). Melody Mendoza Aguiba