Tuesday, 04 October 2011 13:19
The government has set aside a total of P1 billion in fresh funding to support the National Livestock Program, which is geared towards securing the country’s food supply, particularly of pork and chicken, at stable and affordable prices.
LPG/MA party-list Rep. Arnel Ty, member of the appropriations committee of the House of Representatives, said the amount is P318 million or 47 percent greater than this year’s P682-million allocation for the program.
Under the proposed General Appropriations Act for 2012, Ty said, one-half of the new spending will be invested in production support and post-harvest facilities and equipment, such as biogas digesters, dairy processing plants, cold storage, and abattoirs.
"We expect these critical inputs to help lessen post-production losses, and improve the quality and safety of meat and poultry products in our palengke and supermarkets," he said.
The livestock and poultry sectors are projected to produce around two million metric tons (MT) of hog and another 1.5 million MT of chicken next year.
The sectors also cover carabao, cattle, goat, dairy, duck as well as chicken and duck eggs.
"Strong livestock and poultry production at all times is the best way for us to keep food prices, including those of processed meat, within reach of ordinary consumers," said Ty.
"Processed meat intake in particular is on the rise. Families don’t have the time to prepare their meals anymore. Even poverty stricken homes are consuming more processed meat simply because they don’t have means to quickly cook their food," he noted.
The LPG/MA party-list solon also expressed confidence the extra spending would prop up the backyard livestock and poultry industries.
"Small livestock and poultry raisers are augmenting household incomes and creating extra jobs in the countryside. They deserve strong support," he said.
At the same time, Ty called on authorities to step up efforts to curb the smuggling of imported meat, which has been hurting local livestock growers.
"Highly aggressive enforcement is key to reducing the smuggling of imported meat, some of which end up in the palengke. Since they are being brought in without paying the correct amount of import duties and taxes, they compete unfairly with locally produced meat," he said.
By Lilybeth G. Ison-PNA
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