Food processors warned of a 10-percent to 15-percent increase in canned meat prices if the government will impose a temporary ban on raw materials, such as poultry and mechanically deboned meat.
The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. said the proposed ban might also suppress production in the absence of raw materials. Poultry products and MDM are important ingredients in the manufacture of processed meats, such as hotdogs, sausages and luncheon meat.
“Prices of canned good will rise by at least 10 to15 percent or about P2 to P5 per can, depending on the can size. Same is true for processed meats like hotdogs, siomai, and food served by the fastfood sector. These are all sources of nutrition for the masses,” said PAMPI vice president and CDO Foodsphere Inc. chief executive Jerome Ong.
“It is very untimely for all because the crisis brought about by the pandemic has drastically cut the purchasing power of everyone, while the restaurants are struggling to get back on their feet too,” he added.
Ong said the government’s decision to ban or suspend meat imports would be ill-timed as this could affect the struggling manufacturing sector. He said thousands employed in the processed meat sector could lose their jobs as the industry would be forced to downsize operations and some companies might close shop.
“The government will lose revenues not just from customs duties but much more from the taxes that companies remit every year. Worse, consumers will be deprived of their most affordable source of protein which our sector provides. It’s just lamentable that the complaining sectors are putting undue pressure on government agencies by insinuating that corruption is prompting them to favor us. We challenge them to name names and show evidence instead of resorting to trial by publicity,” Ong said.
A letter submitted to the Agriculture Department by PAMPI highlighted the importance of canned meat and processed meat in ensuring food supply during the COVID 19 crisis.
“The meats that are being sought to be banned have become part of the solution that prevented food riots from happening,” the group said in the letter, noting that canned goods form part of the relief package, along with rice and other food items.
The group said their members continued to operate despite the additional cost on workers’ safety and added sanitation protocol inside the plants.
“As we stated in our letter to Secretary William Dar, the call of some poultry groups is unwarranted, and we are not sure what their motives are. Please note that we only import items and parts that are not available in sufficient quantity locally and whose local counterpart does not meet our specifications. But many of our member-companies buy local poultry, even local pork,” Ong said.
The group imports $300 million worth of poultry products annually, against the country’s total exports of $6 billion.