GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The agriculture department in Region 12 said it may start exporting cut pork meat products from the region to various foreign markets.
Amalia Jayag-Datukan, Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 12 executive director, said among the possible export markets are Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Singapore.
She said negotiations with these countries and local producers in the region are ongoing.
“We are working on this (pork exports) now and hopefully it will materialize soon,” she said in their regular television program Agri Tayo Soccsksargen.
Region 12 is the country’s leading producer of “pork-in-a-box” producers.
“We want our pork-in-a-box products to also reach the foreign markets just like our premium rice,” Datukan said.
Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Cotabato.
Data from the DA Region 12’s Veterinary Quarantine Services showed that the region produced a total of 124,366 heads of excess hogs in 2013 that were valued at around P1.09 billion.
In terms of pork, the area produced around 12,347 metric tons last year that were valued at P1.97 billion.
About 28 percent of the area’s hog produce ended up at the Matutum Meat Packing Corp (MMPC) based in Polomolok town in South Cotabato, 26 percent to Metro Manila and 13 percent to Cebu.
DA initially forged a deal with Singapore in early 2007 for the shipment of fresh cuts and processed pork meat products to the area from the Makar port here.
The area was chosen by the national government to initiate the country’s pork exports since Mindanao had been certified free from the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease by the Office International des Epizooties or World Organization for Animal Health.
DA had tapped two Mindanao firms — the MMPC and the Davao City-based Nenita Quality Foods Corp. — to pilot the pork exports then.
MMPC, a sister company of Cebu-based Sunpride Foods Inc. which produces Holiday corned beef and Sunpride canned goods, had invested around P200 million for a state-of-the-art processing plant in Polomolok town.
But the agreement eventually fell through without any single shipment making it to Singapore due to problems with the national government’s policies and the detection of the Ebola Reston virus in a hog farm in Luzon.