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Philippine swine producers plan export group

Swine producers in Mindanao are working to form an industry organisation to oversee their foray into foreign markets, beginning with Singapore. Emilio V. Escobillo, Jr., president of the South Cotabato Swine Producers Association, said at least five swine farms in Mindanao have been accredited by the government to ship fresh frozen cut pork parts abroad.

Umbrella Group
"Since we are trying to enter a new market, we are seriously looking at the establishment of an umbrella group to sustain the trading of pork meat outside the country," he said in an interview.

Cathy M. Romero, sales and marketing manager of Matutum Meat Packing Corp., said in a separate interview that the country's pioneer pork export "has taken off ground recently."

Matutum Meat is the only pork processing firm in the country that has been accredited by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore. "But the pork shipment hasn't arrived there yet," Romero said, declining to elaborate.

Matutum Meat, a sister firm of Cebu-based Sunpride Foods, Inc. which produces Holiday and Sunpride canned goods, has invested around P200 million to upgrade its slaughtering facility in neighbouring Polomolok town in South Cotabato.

Shipping records
Raquel T. Cortez, Jr., Philippine Port Authority statistician at the Makar wharf here, said there is no record of pork shipment bound for Singapore although Matutum Meat has been shipping to Manila frozen cut pork parts. Cleofe P. Virtodazo, an official of the National Animal Quarantine stationed at the Makar wharf here, said that samples of pork products processed by Matutum Meat were sent to Singapore for laboratory testing last month.

Escobillo cited the need to consolidate the efforts of accredited swine farms, citing the heavy cost of production and shipment, noting that a refrigerated container van, carrying 600 to 700 heads, would cost some P4 million to P5 million.

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