MANILA, Philippines – Japanese and Singaporean buyers are considering to source pork and duck from the Philippines as the country remains free from animal diseases, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said.
In a recent interview, Alcala said at least two groups of Japanese buyers have expressed interest in importing pork and duck from the Philippines as several prefectures in Japan continue to have cases of foot-and-mouth disease as recently as six months ago.
“They (buyers) have been asking me if we are clear to export chilled pork and peking duck. We have been discussing this. Our production systems are not yet that integrated so if we can start with a small volume it is already a good start,” Alcala said.
He said local producers need to conform with the stringent import requirements of Japan.
“We do not export pork to Japan yet so we would need to conform to the necessary tests. We need to work fast,” said Alcala.
The Philippines currently supplies chicken yakitori nuggets to Japan.
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These buyers have also visited La Trinidad, Benguet to look at the possibility of sourcing vegetables, Alcala said.
A group from Singapore has also expressed interest in buying pork from the Philippines, the DAR chief added.
“Singapore has a small population but because of tourism, it is a good market,” Alcala said.
The Philippines remains free from animal diseases that have caused devastation to the livestock and poultry industries of neighboring Asian countries such as avian influenza and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
The World Organization for Animal Health has recognized the Philippines as free from FMD without vaccination as well as from goat plague.
Alcala attributed this to the proactive monitoring of the animal health situation in the country as well as to the promotion of Good Animal Husbandry Practices (GAHP), and improving animal health services.
Both FMD and goat plague are economically damaging animal diseases that could lead to significant production losses.
FMD is a disease that primarily affects cattle and hogs but can also affect small ruminants. Humans may be infected though rarely. It is characterized by the onset of high fever in infected animals followed by the occurrence of blisters inside the mouth and on the feet.
It causes rapid weight loss and reduction of milk production among infected animals.
Goat plague, on the other hand, also affects sheep but does not affect humans. It is characterized by fever in the infected animal and is accompanied by discharge form the eyes and nose which can form a crust.
The infected animal may have coughing fits and foul-smelling breath it may also suffer from diarrhea. The general weakness experienced by the animal usually leads to death.
The disease is spread through excretion of infected animals such as tears, and mucus from the nose and droplets ejected with cough.