DA, SBMA to put up country’s first border control facility for agri products

Maris Federez   •   July 8, 2021   •   420

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) are in talks of establishing the country’s first of five border control facilities.

In a news release dated July 7, the DA said the establishment which will be named the Cold Examination Facility in Agriculture (CEFA) will be built at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Zambales.

The DA said it is targeting 100 percent inspection of farm, fishery, and meat products to ensure their quality, determine and confiscate erroneously declared shipments, and prevent the entry of transboundary pests and diseases.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar met with SBMA chairperson and CEO Atty. Wilma Eisma on June 30.

Dar said Eisma fully supports the proposal of the DA to construct and operate the Subic CEFA.

The DA said that once operational, “the Subic CEFA will be able to conduct full and thorough inspection of containerized agricultural commodities through risk assessment, complemented by x-ray screening of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).”

The system will subject all farm, fishery, meat, and food imports to 100% sampling and laboratory testing.

“The Subic Bay Freeport Zone is an ideal location because it is well-connected to the main Metro Manila highways,” the DA chief said.

“The CEFAs will initiate a new way of conducting first-border inspections, as well as host more thorough examinations, as you can open all arriving imports in one cold warehouse and have ample time to examine them,” he added.

Dar added that negotiations of establishing another CEFA at the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) compound at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) are still ongoing between the DA-BAI and DOTr-PPA.

The DA said that it also plans to put up similar CEFA in the ports of Batangas, Cebu, and Davao.

For the Subic CEFA, the DA proposes to use a 2,000-square meter lot at the freeport zone for 25 years, renewable upon mutual agreement.

Secretary Dar is confident that the partnership will transform the Subic International Port into the country’s major hub for agricultural product imports.

“We thank SBMA chair and CEO Eisma for the smooth negotiations, pending approval of the SBMA Board, that will jumpstart the process of procurement. We wish the facility constructed as soon as possible,” he said.

DA receives additional 1,591 dairy goats from Australia

Marje Pelayo   •   May 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) received an additional 1,591 heads of dairy goats from Australia as part of the Department of Agriculture-National Dairy Authority (DA-NDA) Intensified Community-Based Dairy Enterprise Development.

The additional animals, which arrived in the country on May 18 at the Clark International Airport, Pampanga, are currently quarantined at JJK Farm, Magalang Pampanga.

They will be distributed to farmer recipients in Luzon who passed the technical evaluation conducted by the DA-NDA.

These goats are in addition to the 1,294 imported dairy goats that arrived at General Santos International Airport, General Santos City, last April 5, 2021, which are intended to be distributed to farmer recipients in Mindanao and Visayas.

DA-NDA’s animal importation project aims to build up herd numbers, enhance local milk production, and increase the average family income of dairy farmers.

Millers urge government to buy locally-produced rice

Marje Pelayo   •   May 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Under Executive Order 135, the tariff on rice from countries like India, Pakistan and China will be reduced to 35% from 40% to 50%.

Agriculture group Samahan ng Industriyang Agrikultura (SINAG) said traders might divert and buy imported rice than the locally-produced one because of price differences.

As a consequence, millers would need to buy rice from local farmers at a lower price.

“Doon sa P24 na landed cost (ng imported rice), ang pwede nilang bili sa farmers is P15 ang dry, ang wet ay nasa P12. With that price, malulugi ang farmers dahil wala pa sa break even price iyon,” said SINAG’s Rosendo So.

Thus, millers are calling on government to buy locally produced rice through the National Food Authority (NFA) at P17.50 per kilogram and a milling fee of P3 to P5 per kilogram.

SINAG estimates that the government needs P205 billion to buy around 12 million metric tons of harvest from June to December this year.

“With this new EO, kung mag backout ang magsasaka dahil ang miller ay hindi bibili ng mataas dahil malulugi sila, malaking shortage natin sa bigas,” So added.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said that the NFA can only buy a limited volume of rice.

“NFA will only buy because they are mandated to maintain buffer stock, so yun lang ang bibilhin ng gobyerno,” Dar said.

The official said that only the 10% deficit in local rice production will be allowed to import.

Dar added that farmers are now enjoying the benefit of the rice enhancement competitive fund under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).

“The farmers, sabi naman nila dati, aatras sila because of the RTL. The farmers continue to plant,” Dar noted.

He said the intention behind the lowering of tariff was to make rice affordable. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Phl hog industry needs P27-B to recover from impact of ASF — DA

Marje Pelayo   •   May 12, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is looking for fund sources to address the impact of African Swine Fever (ASF) on the country’s hog industry.

Specifically, the DA needs up to P27 billion for its hog recovery program, according to Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

This year alone, the DA requires an additional P6.6 billion for the repopulation of hogs.

Since the ASF outbreak began in 2019, the country has already lost over three million heads of pigs, Dar noted.

The DA is expecting an amount from the Bayanihan 3 but since the government has declared a state of calamity due to ASF, the agency is expecting an additional source of funds for the program.

“Kung may resource kami na pwede naming i-realign ito po ay pwede nang gagawin dito po sa under the state of calamity,” Dar noted.

Secretary Dar said it would take about three years before the country achieves the average number of hogs as before and it will need an overall budget of P27 billion.

Also part of the hog recovery program is funding ASF test kits and the procurement of a potential vaccine against ASF that is currently under clinical trial. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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