DA mulls limiting MDM imports to end-users

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture plans to limit who can import mechanically deboned meat, the raw material for processing, a move which stakeholders called as anti-small and medium businesses.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he is eyeing MDM imports for end-users and processors only to ensure lower prices of processed meat products.

“I am inclined to do that. That is my mindset but I will still look into the recommendation of the BAI (Bureau of Animal Industry),” Piñol told The STAR.

“The importation of traders automatically results in higher prices. This is similar to what we did in the sugar industry, we removed those who are just riding with the importation and just deal with the real end-users to really cut down on the mark ups so that consumers will feel lower prices,” he added.

Right now, any accredited importer can just bring in MDM imports into the country.

The Meat Importers and Traders Association (MITA), however, expressed concern over the planned move, saying this is anti-small and medium sized enterprises.

Proceeding with the plan would mean SMEs would not be able to import directly and will instead course their shipments through several channels, thus resulting in higher costs.

“If they do this, they are only giving the big players unfair advantage. I hope they will not make it difficult for the small ones to get raw materials because the small processors are the ones serving the poor,” MITA president Jess Cham told The STAR.

“This will in effect create a cartel for the big ones because the small and medium enterprises will not have access to the raw materials. They will not have the chance to compete,” he added.

Cham further said the move is nothing new as the DA has long been discussing this, but they eventually backtrack all the time.

He noted that Piñol, who is heading to lead the Mindanao Development Authority, should instead leave a legacy and not proceed with the plan.

“I hope he is moving on. He should not raise this issue anymore,” Cham said.




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