The country’s meat imports this year is on track to hit a new record high, as total volume from January-to-July posted a 27.91-percent growth driven by higher demand for protein and processed meat products.
Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) data obtained by the BusinessMirror showed that the country’s meat purchase abroad during the seven-month period reached 461,119.972 metric tons over the 360,409.857 MT a year ago.
The figure is just 230,342.592 MT away from matching the 691,462.564 MT total imported meat volume in 2017, which was the highest in the country’s history.
“Our imports are really higher this year with population growth as the main driver. The country is growing, hence food intake is growing as well,” Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. Executive Director Francisco J. Buencamino told the BusinessMirror.
“Then the hog sector had a disease problem so there’s thinner supply, hence, importation would grow,” Buencamino added.
Furthermore, Buencamino said, the local meat processing industry is still keeping up with its 10-percent to 12-percent annual growth rate driven by higher demand for affordable processed meat products.
Based on the BAI data, the country’s imports of chicken, pork, beef and carabeef during the seven-month period posted double-digit expansions.
Pork imports accounted for almost half, or about 46.75 percent, of the total meat purchased abroad.
Pork imports widened by 31.78 percent to 215,605.149 MT, from 163,602.583 MT recorded volume a year ago.
About 77.83 percent of the total volume, or about 127,336.342 MT, were other parts of pork, which are used by meat processors, such as fats, skins and offals.
Chicken meat was second-top imported animal protein as it accounted for 34.5 percent of the total volume.
Chicken meat imports expanded by 27.65 percent to 159,067.268 MT, from 124,605.514 MT a year ago.
Likewise, about 72.79 percent of the country’s chicken meat imports during the seven-month period were poultry products used by meat processors in manufacturing canned meat and hot dogs.
Mechanically deboned meat (MDM) of chicken alone accounted for 71.39 percent of the total poultry meat imports.
Chicken MDM imports grew 21.37 percent to 113,572.894 MT, from 93,575.918 MT a year ago.
On the other hand, imports of chicken leg quarters ballooned by 39.53 percent to 35,629.029 MT, from 25,535.571 MT recorded volume last year.
Furthermore, the country’s beef imports reached 63,413.188 MT, 15.45 percent higher than the 54,925.357 MT recorded volume last year.
Likewise, imports of carabeef, or indian buffalo meat, rose by 33.33 percent to 23,034.367 MT from 17,276.404 MT. Carabeef is also utilized by meat processors to produce processed meat products such as corned beef and hot dogs.
“It does appear that the general trend of import is up. I suppose the consumers’ acceptance of frozen meat continues to go up. This is seen all over the world,” Meat Importers and Traders Association President Jesus C. Cham earlier told the BusinessMirror.
Cham said the growing demand for frozen meat by consumers could be driven by the improvement in their purchasing power as they had more disposable income due to the tax exemptions stipulated in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law.
“The latest SWS [Social Weather Station] survey shows that there are less poor and food-poor people. Perhaps an improving economy and the increase in purchasing power are behind this,” he added