THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

DA allots P280M for meat cold storage, postharvest centers

Author: DA Communications Group | 5 December 2020

The Department of Agriculture (DA), through its National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), will establish cold storage warehouses complete with meat-cutting facilities, initially in four areas, located in three provinces.

With a total budget of P280 million (M), the facilities will be put up in Magalang, Pampanga; in Tanauan and San Jose, Batangas; and in Malagos, Davao del Sur.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said these facilities once operational will help support the recovery of the country’s hog and poultry sub-sectors as they were adversely affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF) and economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, respectively.

The country’s livestock and poultry sub-sectors are among the drivers of local rural economies, contributing to livelihood and employment, and generating income for poor farm households.

“Efficient management and delivery of food crops, fruits and vegetables, fishery, livestock and poultry products are imperative and critical, in response to the country’s food security requirements. Hence, now more than ever, we should put premium on the establishment of modern storage, processing, and logistics facilities to attain a globally-competitive food value chain system,” Secretary Dar said.

The four DA-NMIS-funded cold storage areas will be complemented with meat-cutting facilities to allow further value-adding that will enhance farmers’ incomes as these can produce “choice meat cuts” to supply the growing market.

The facilities are also seen to contribute to local production of mechanically-deboned meat (MDM) that comprises the bulk of raw materials used in the food processing sector.

Secretary Dar said the DA-NMIS will partner with hog farmers and poultry raisers, industry stakeholders, respective local government units, and the academe in Pampanga, Batangas, and Davao to put up, operate and maintain the cold storage and meat-cutting facilities.

Negotiations are ongoing with identified stakeholders, said NMIS Director Reildrin Morales.

Once established, the facilities will provide services to meat processing industries, serve as an avenue for research and learning, and help enhance the conduct of the government’s meat industry regulatory functions, Morales added.

Funding for said facilities comes from appropriations under Republic Act No. 11494, also known as the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or “Bayanihan 2,” where the DA was granted a supplemental P24-billion budget to help address the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in the agri-fishery sector.

The DA is implementing a food logistics plan as part of its national Plant, Plant, Plant program to revive, grow, and reboot the country’s agriculture and fishery sector amid the ongoing health crisis.

“We believe the initiatives of the Duterte administration will help reinvigorate the Philippine countryside after surmounting the COVID-19 pandemic, by increasing food production and establishment of postharvest, storage and logistics systems,” the DA chief concluded. ### (Patrick Raymund Lesaca, DA StratComms)

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