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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

‘Livestock-related units need revamp’ to ensure lower-cost meat products

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THE government must strengthen and harmonize its various livestock-related units to ensure that programs are integrated with the goal of producing lower-cost meat products, experts said.

Monetary Board member V. Bruce J. Tolentino stressed the need to “reorganize” the government’s livestock-related units to ensure that the necessary attention is given to the concerned industries.

Tolentino also noted that there is no specific agency or unit focusing on the country’s corn industry, a vital sector in ensuring the growth of livestock production.

“It has grown up to a kind of haphazard fashion: you have BAI [Bureau of Animal Industry], NMIS [National Meat Inspection Service], livestock development council, etc. It is so cluttered that there is no agency focusing on corn,” he told the BusinessMirror.

“We need to reorganize all the livestock agencies into a coordinated set,” he added.

Tolentino proposed that the government have just one unit focusing on productivity and technology, and another unit dealing with trade and policies-related matters.

“You really need a unit in the Department of Agriculture (DA) that focuses almost purely on corn technology as well. It could be attached to the Bureau of Plant Industry, which is okay, or within the BAI that focuses on livestock feeds,” he said.

At present the DA has a corn program that oversees the implementation of corn production-related projects of the government.

Industry players, particularly the Philippine Maize Federation Inc. (PhilMaize), have been pushing for the creation of the Philippine Corn Development Authority to oversee the development of the corn sector since they have been “orphaned” following the deregulation of the state-run National Food Authority (NFA).

“We agree with Tolentino’s proposal. The corn industry has been orphaned after the NFA was deregulated. There is no entity supporting the corn sector. What we have right now is just a banner program that is lumped in with the livestock program,” Danilo V. Fausto, president of the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc., told the BusinessMirror.

Fausto proposed that the President issue an executive order (EO) to create a unit that would oversee and consolidate all the livestock-related units and programs of the government.

“This could be done as an interim measure while waiting for passage of a law that would create the corn authority or a bureau focusing on livestock,” he said.

Fausto argued that the devastation caused by the African swine fever (Asf) to the hog industry is a wake-up call for the government to create a bureau that will focus on livestock

“We agree that the bureaus must be specialized. One focuses on the corn industry, one on livestock and another on trade measures,” he added.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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