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To ease domestic shortage, government lifts Dutch poultry import ban

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The Netherlands may fully resume exporting poultry products to the Philippine after the government lifted the temporary import ban on Dutch poultry, providing a long-awaited relief to meat processors.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has issued Memorandum Order (MO) 49 that authorized the lifting of the temporary importation ban of domestic and wild birds and their products from the Netherlands.

DA officials noted that the Netherlands has resolved its highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreaks, the reason behind the earlier temporary import ban, based on its report to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

“Netherlands has already provided the Philippine government all supporting documentary evidences on the disease control measures carried out by their veterinary services to contain the HPAI outbreaks in their country,” Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said in the MO dated August 25.

The Philippine market has been temporarily closed to Dutch poultry products since January after the Netherlands reported confirmed HPAI outbreaks.

But in April, the DA allowed meat processors to import mechanically deboned meat (MDM) of poultry from the Netherlands. However, meat processors were not able to capitalize the easing of the import restriction due to stringent measures that even exporters cannot comply with.

Poultry MDM is one of the vital raw materials used in manufacturing processed meat products such as hot dogs, longganisa, siomai, and chicken nuggets.

With the full lifting of the import ban, meat processors can now freely access Dutch chicken MDM supply, providing a boost in domestic supply that has been crippled by closure of market sources due to import bans caused by bird flu outbreaks.

The order stipulated that the importers can now purchase poultry products from the Netherlands even if they were not born and raised in the European country as long as they were sourced from countries that have been granted system accreditation by the Philippines.

Should the source of the poultry imports from the Netherlands come from other countries, they must be free from bird flu or do not have existing import ban due to bird flu outbreaks, according to the document.

“The lifting of the poultry ban on the Netherlands will help ease the shortage of MDM raw materials for our industry. We appreciate the action of the Department of Agriculture in accordance with the guidelines of the OIE on the resolution of avian influenza outbreaks,” the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI) said in a statement sent to the BusinessMirror.

PAMPI also urged the DA to fast-track the application for accreditation to export MDM to the Philippines by other trade-partners to widen the country’s supply base of the raw material.

“We also hope that the DA will act faster and more expeditiously on pending requests of trading partners for accreditation to export MDM to the Philippines,” the group said.

“We fully support the move of EU [Hungary and Poland] and non-EU (Turkey) producers of MDM to be accredited to export to the Philippines. The more supply we have, the more competitive prices we get, which will result in stable supply and pricing for our consumers,” it added.

The meat processing industry faced supply problems this year after the entirety of Europe was technically shut down due to series of import bans slapped by the government on European countries supplying the country with chicken MDM due to bird flu outbreaks.

The supply shortage led to reduction in the volume of processed meat products in the market and ultimately resulted in price spikes across concerned products, including hot dogs.

The situation forced industry players to seek urgent accreditation of additional foreign meat establishments (FMEs) from bird-flu free European countries. At some point, Hungarian and Polish officials were the ones asking the Philippine government to accredit their FMEs so they can fill the supply gap left by the Netherlands.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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