Loss of 7M jobs feared in local hog industry

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11:16 PM November 27th, 2012

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November 27th, 2012 11:16 PM

ROSALES, Pangasinan—Hog and poultry industry leaders assailed the Board of Investments’ (BOI) decision to allow a Thai company to register a P2.32-billion integrated production project in the country, saying the BOI is driving the last nail on the local industry’s coffin.

“It is like a death sentence,” Rosendo So, director of the Swine Development Council, said of the Charoen Pokphand’s project that would establish and operate hog stock farms in Tarlac and Pangasinan, as well as six broiler farms in Bulacan and Nueva Ecija.

These projects, he said, will start operations in February 2013.

“Allowing a multinational company to operate in the country with all the perks and incentives from the national government is worse than the rampant meat smuggling from which the local industry has yet to fully recover,” said So, also chair of the party-list group Abono.

He said the backyard hog industry lost P28.5 billion in the past three years due to meat smuggling.

“If rampant smuggling killed the backyard hog industry, this project threatens the medium and large hog farms,” he told the Inquirer.

He said what makes the BOI’s decision “grievously unfair” was that local hog and poultry industry players never received any incentive or subsidy from the government.

“And now here comes a multinational company which will get all the incentives, like tax holiday for seven years and tariff-free imported breeding stock, feed, equipment and others, for 10 years of commercial operation. We never enjoyed those perks,” So said.

He urged the government to save the local hog and poultry industry, which he said has been been providing jobs to Filipinos.

So said the Thai company’s project has an annual stock capacity of 25,453 heads for parent stock and 3,647 metric tons (MT) for slaughter hogs, and 21,847 MT of chicken.

“The tsunami-like proportion of meat products that the multinational company will flood the local market with is expected to annihilate the backyard, small and medium growers. This would also mean job loss for some seven million Filipinos working in the agribusiness sector, triple the 1,800 jobs that Charoen is expected to create,” he said.

In a statement, Abono Rep. Robert Raymund Estrella said the BOI move may have violated antidumping laws in the country.

“With the BOI’s approval of Charoen Pokphand investment in the area of agribusiness, the antidumping law has effectively become useless. [The government] allowed a foreign-owned company to dominate the market, to the prejudice of the local hog and poultry industry,” Estrella said.

He said Republic Act No. 8752, or the Anti-Dumping Act of 1999, protects domestic enterprises against unfair foreign competition and trade practices. Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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