PHL pork imports seen rising by nearly 20%

The Philippines’s pork imports is expected to rise by nearly 20 percent this year as animal diseases, such as African swine fever, continue to threaten domestic hog population, according to the latest report from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

In its latest report titled “Food Outlook,” FAO data indicated that the country’s pork imports would reach 394,000 metric tons (MT) this year, 18 percent higher than the estimated 332,000 MT purchased in 2021.

The Philippines needs to buy pork from abroad as FAO’s projections indicated that domestic output for this year will not be enough to meet the local pork requirement.

According to FAO, pork production could decline by 4 percent to 1.139 million metric tons (MMT) this year and will fall short of the projected domestic pork requirement of 1.531 MMT.

“World meat production in 2022 is forecast to expand, albeit moderately, with expected production growth slowdowns in the pig and poultry meat sectors, reflecting animal disease prevalence and producer margin erosion,” said FAO.

The Philippines will also continue to import rice and dairy in huge quantities, according to the report. This year, FAO projected that purchases of imported rice would reach 3.3 MMT. For next year, FAO expects the Philippines to reduce its rice imports by around 300,000 MT.

As for dairy products, the report indicated that the country’s imports this year would reach 2.91 MMT, 13 percent higher than the estimated 2.56 MMT it purchased last year.

“Global trade in dairy products in 2022 is forecast at 85 million tons (in milk equivalents), down by 3.4 percent from 2021, which would represent the first decline in nearly two decades,” the report read.

“Imports by the Philippines, Indonesia and Mexico are anticipated to increase markedly, partially offsetting the declines expected elsewhere.”

Global food import bill

The new FAO report also revealed that the world food import bill is estimated to go up to $1.94 trillion in 2022, higher than previously expected.

The new forecast presented in the report would mark an all-time high and a 10-percent increase over the record level of 2021, although the pace of the increase is expected to slow down in response to higher world food prices and depreciating currencies against the US dollar. Both weigh on the purchasing power of importing countries and, subsequently, on the volumes of imported food.

The bulk of the increase in the bill is accounted for by high-income countries, due mostly to higher world prices, while volumes are also expected to rise. Economically vulnerable country groups are being more affected by the higher prices.

For instance, the aggregate food import bill for the group of low-income countries is expected to remain almost unchanged even though it is predicted to shrink by 10 percent in volume terms, pointing to a growing accessibility issue for these countries.

“These are alarming signs from a food security perspective, indicating importers are finding it difficult to finance rising international costs, potentially heralding an end of their resilience to higher international prices,” the report from FAO’s Markets and Trade Division warned.

The Food Outlook report, which breaks down food trade patterns by food groups, warned that existing differences are likely to become more pronounced, with high-income countries continuing to import across the entire spectrum of food products, while developing regions are increasingly focused on staple foods.

“In this context, FAO welcomes the approval by the International Monetary Fund of a Food Shock Window—broadly based on FAO’s Food Import Financing Facility proposal —as an important step to ease the burden of soaring food import costs among lower income countries.”

The Food Outlook also assesses global expenditures on imported agricultural inputs, including fertilizers. The global input import bill is expected to rise to $424 billion in 2022, up 48 percent from the year before and as much as 112 percent from 2020.

Higher costs for imported energy and fertilizer are behind the foreseen increase. Both are particularly relevant in import bills, posing strains for the current accounts of low-income and lower middle-income countries. As a result, some countries may be forced to reduce input applications, almost inevitably resulting in lower agricultural productivity and lower domestic food availability.

“Negative repercussions for global agricultural output and food security” are likely to extend into 2023, according to FAO.

Image credits: BusinessMirror file photo



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