BY JANICE HIDALGO
ROSALES, PANGASINAN – Abono party-list Chairman and Northern Luzon Hog Raisers Cooperative (NLHRC) Vice President Rosendo O. So has questioned DA’s order in the lifting of ban on pork meat from Canada despite confirmed cases of H1N1 virus.
So, has asked the Department of Agriculture (DA) to stop pork and live animals importation from countries with confirmed cases of H1N1 virus.
While it is true that the farm gate prices of hog sold in the local markets has been stabled, our representation and stand in order to protect our local Hog raisers remains intact, So said in an interview.
So, explained that Canada being one of the 40 countries which have been officially confirmed to have cases of H1N1 virus infection it is only but right to retain the temporary suspension on the pork importation.
So noted reports that the spread of H1N1 virus in Canada originated from a person who was infected with H1N1 virus in Mexico, and upon his return to a farm in Canada as carrier of the dreaded virus, the hogs in the farm became infected by the virus.
“When the Ebola Reston virus was reported to have affected hogs in Manaoag, Pangasinan several months ago, meat exportation to Singapore was stopped by DA and after four months of investigation, the hogs in Manaoag were found negative of the virus.
“Unfair ito sa mga local hog raisers dahil hindi pa napapatunayan na may Ebola virus dito pinigil ng ating pamahalaan ang export ng local pork meat sa ibang bansa, pero ngayong totoong may H1N1 sa Canada, bakit pinayagan ng ating pamahalaan ang pag pasok ng karneng baboy sa Pilipinas, di ba dapat masusing imbestigahan ito ng World Health Organization bago papasukin muli ito sa bansa,” he said.
The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI) explained that lifting the import ban would help the local livestock industry as it would help convince consumers they could not get the virus by eating pork.
An initials report about the overseas outbreak of this infection has triggered a “pork scare,” weakening domestic demand and pulling down farm-gate prices by about P5 per kilo.
DA said that farm-to-market prices of pork have started to stabilize at P93 to P98 a kilo from its lowest of P87 a kilo during last month’s height of the influenza A scare.
The US and Canada supply about 50,000 metric tons of pork products imported by the Philippines annually.
It will be recalled that Sen. Loren legarda chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, agreed with the DA’s directive to lift the temporary suspension on pork imports.