Philippines: Government investigates why pork prices are high if supply is up

The Philippine Department of Agriculture is looking into the reasons for a rising pork price despite an increased frozen pork supply.

Based on data, there is a significant inventory of both domestically slaughtered and imported pork in cold storage facilities in the Philippines, accredited by the Department of Agriculture’s National Meat Inspection Service (DA-NMIS). As of the third week of October 2020, the inventory of frozen pork, both local and imported, in DA-NMIS-accredited cold storages nationwide was up by 55% compared to the same period in 2019, at 38,216 MT.

“We’re looking into reasons why there’s a very slow withdrawal of frozen pork products despite the availability of supply, and demand has started to pick up as the government opens up the economy,” DA Secretary William Dar said.

As of October 21, prices of kasim (pork ham) reached P320/kg and liempo (pork belly) at P360/kg in most Metro Manila public markets, P20 and P40 more respectively, compared to two weeks ago.

The DA is looking at whether the high prices were a result of inefficiencies in the supply chain. The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) is also investigating possible violations of the Philippine Competition Act by traders that may be manipulating pork supply.

October 23, 2020/ Department of Agriculture/ Philippines.
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China: Recovery of live pig production "better than expected" in first three quarters of 2020

The live pig census has been restored to 84% compared to 2017 levels, and pork prices are falling.

In the first three quarters of 2020, 12,500 large-scale pig farms were newly built and put into production and 13,400 vacant pig farms were re-stocked. By the end of September, the national live pig inventory had seen 8 months of consecutive growth, reaching 370 million head, a 20.7% increase year-on-year, restoring the pig census to 84% compared to levels at the end of 2017. The breeding sow population has seen 12 consecutive months of growth, reaching 38.22 million head, and restoring the sow census to 86% compared to 2017. With the rapid recovery of live pig production and the increase in slaughter volume, pork prices have fallen for 7 consecutive weeks, and the market price is 50.56 yuan per kilogram, which is 9.08 yuan lower than the highest point in February this year.

From the perspective of production, since March this year, the number of live pigs for slaughter has increased sequentially for 7 consecutive months. Imports from January to September were 3.286 million tons, an increase of 132.2% year-on-year. From the perspective of market prices, after February, the pork market price showed an overall trend of oscillating and falling. Since September, pork prices have fallen for seven consecutive weeks.

Since the beginning of this year, a total of 18 African swine fever epidemics have been reported in 9 provinces, including 17 domestic pigs and 1 wild boar. With the gradual implementation of various measures for African swine fever prevention and control, biosecurity especially on large-scale farms has been greatly improved, and risks in breeding, transportation, and slaughter have been effectively controlled. The current situation of the African swine fever epidemic in the country is generally stable, however the frequent transportation of breeding pigs and piglets will further increase the risk of epidemic occurrence and spread.

October 21, 2020/ Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs/ China.
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Brazil suspends corn and soybean tariffs

Tariffs will be cut to zero for two of the country's most important grains, corn and soybeans, in order to maintain the balance in the supply of these products in the domestic market.

The decision was made last Friday by the Executive Management Committee (Gecex) of the Chamber of Foreign Trade (Camex) based on proposals submitted by the Ministries of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (on soybeans) and the Ministry of Economy (on corn).

The temporary suspension of import tariffs for soybeans (grain, bran, and soybean oil) will be valid until January 15, 2021. Regarding corn, Brazilian tariff-free imports will be extended until March 31, 2021. Such dates are established in order not to compromise the sales of the next harvest, scheduled for the beginning of next year.

The increase in global food demand, caused by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, led, in the case of corn, to an increase in domestic consumption to supply animal protein production, which registered a growth in exports. In the case of soybeans and its derivatives, such as bran and oil, there was also an increase in foreign sales, which gained momentum with the rise of the dollar.

It is important to note that no shortage of products is expected, according to the director of MAPA. The objective is to promote an adjustment between the supply and demand of these products in the period prior to the 2020/2021 harvest, which will take place from the beginning of next year.

October 17, 2020/ MAPA/ Brazil.
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