Result of the initial screening for foot and mouth disease (FMD) in the country’s livestock industry is expected to come out before the end of December, Dr. Rafael Mercado, chief of the livestock division of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Davao said.
Once the Philippines is declared FMD-free by that time, a boom in the pork export industry will likely happen, Mercado said.
In the case of Mindanao, which has been already declared FMD-free, pork exporters in the region are hoping that the country will be classified FMD-free so that it could push through with its exporting business, particularly to the major market of Singapore.
Mercado said by the time the country will be classified as FMD-free, it would not be remote that the government will lift its self-imposed ban on pork exports.
The ban was triggered by the discovery of an ebola case in Luzon.
However, Mercado said while waiting for the results of screening, the Davao Hog Raisers Association have been into a series of dialogue with the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) in relation to their plight following the ban.
Mercado said there are at least five Mindanao pork exporters — two from Davao City and three from General Santos City — who have already passed Singapore’s biosafety standard.
He said Singapore had expressed their willingness to accept the pork products from Mindanao.
In 2009, Mindanao pork exporters were about to go into a trial export to Singapore, but this was put on hold following the ebola discovery in Luzon.
Davao Region’s pork production during the third quarter this year posted 32,000 metric tons while broiler population reached 1.8 million, Mercado said.
Mercado is optimistic the talks between MinDA and the Davao hog raisers will lead to the possible lifting of the ban at least for Mindanao pork exporters.
“The market for Singapore is very big, considering that importing companies only process their products for export to different parts of the world,” Mercado said.