Meat imports rise 11% led by pork, chicken

MEAT IMPORTS rose 11.3% during the four months to April, led by increased shipments of pork, chicken, and beef, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) reported.

The BAI tallied imports of 397 million kilograms of meat during the four-month period, against 356 million kilos the prior year.

Meat imports in April rose 35.6% to 122.74 million kilos.

Shipments of pork increased 17.99% to 193.15 million kilos during the period, accounting for 48.73% of the total.

“Importers are likely positioning in anticipation of higher prices abroad, a weaker peso, as well as lower hog production due to El Niño. It is noteworthy that offal volume decreased, perhaps indicating greater attractiveness of pork meat at the current import duty rate,” Meat Importers and Traders Association President Emeritus Jesus C. Cham said in a Viber message.

The National Economic and Development Authority Board has approved a medium-term plan to lower tariffs on agricultural and industrial products. This included the extension of the reduced-tariff regime on pork imports.

Pork tariffs were retained at 15% for shipments within the minimum access volume and 25% for those exceeding the quota.

He added that as most imports are contracted three months in advance, “We will see how in the next few months how it will affect imports,” Mr. Cham said.

Spain supplied around 50.9 million kilos of pork, followed by Brazil (44.4 million kilos), and Canada (26.2 million kilos) during the period.

Shipments of chicken totaled 134.47 million kilos in the four months to April. Shipments rose 2.41% and made up 33.9% of meat imports.

Brazil remained the top supplier of chicken with shipments of 70.5 million kilos, followed by the US (46.6 million kilos), and Australia (5.4 million kilos).

“This probably shows the continued demand for lower priced chicken,” he said.

Making up 13% of total imports, beef shipments increased 21.9% during the period to 51.53 million kilos.

“The high retail price of pork is pushing consumers toward mid-range beef,” he added.

Beef from Brazil amounted to 17.2 million kilos, followed by Australia (16.1 million), and Ireland (5.1 million).

Turkey imports, which accounted for 0.12% of the total, surged to 483 thousand kilos from 89.9 thousand a year earlier.

Meanwhile, duck, lamb, and buffalo meat imports declined during the period.

Buffalo imports, which accounted for 4.17%, fell 9.65% during the four months to April to 16.5 million kilos.

Shipments of duck declined 59.8% to 51 thousand kilos, while lamb imports fell 27.3% to 164 thousand kilos. — Adrian H. Halili