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Philippines faces possible pork shortage

After assuring the public that there will be enough pork for the Christmas season, Philippine agriculture officials now admit there could be a shortage.

In a radio interview, Agriculture assistant secretary Salvador Salacup said that prices may spike if the projected 15,000 tonnes of pork from other countries does not come in on time.
However, he declined to say how high the prices may go, pointing out that price controls are still in effect over Luzon. The price controls will stay at least until the National Price Coordinating Council meets this coming Monday, he said. "We are under automatic price ceiling environment. The price ceiling of P160 to P170 per kilo of pork cuts still holds," Salacup said.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has placed Luzon under a state of calamity in the wake of the destruction caused by tropical cyclones Ondoy (Ketsana) and Pepeng (Parma).
Salacup said the government is allowing the importation of pork to make up for a projected supply shortage, which is in high demand during the Christmas season.
He said the importation will only be during the peak demand period during December, but the importation should stop on December 23 so the supplies can run out by December 31. “As early as the first and second quarters of 2010 we want only domestic producers to supply pork," Salacup said.
Salacup admitted the “sourcing out" of pork from Visayas and Mindanao may not be enough to meet demand. He said the Agriculture Department is enjoining private sector players to import pork, noting government has an annual quota for bringing in pork with tax privileges.
Salacup said even with 2009 quota of 54,000 metric tonnes, he said importers can still bring in up to 17,000 metric tonnes.

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