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nemo

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Singapore pork buyers set August visit to RP
« on: May 31, 2008, 06:35:26 AM »
Singapore pork buyers set August visit to RP

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines - Singaporean pork buyers are expected to arrive in the country by July or August to strengthen ties with the only Singapore-accredited pork meat exporter and the processed meat industry in general, an official said on Thursday.

Ma. Elizabeth D. Callanta, National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) export coordinator for Singapore, said the agency is helping coordinate the visit of the Singaporean pork industry delegation in Mindanao.

"The looming visit of the Singaporeans was in response to the recent trade mission there spearheaded by Matutum Meat Packing Corp. Singaporethe Philippines is already done with the regulatory aspects and efforts now are geared towards actual shipment [to that country]," she said in an interview from Manila.

Matutum Meat, based in Polomolok, South Cotabato, was cleared late last month by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore to export cut pork meat products there.

Ms. Callanta said the company, which the Singaporean traders will be visiting, was given a "Triple A" accreditation status by the NMIS, indicating it has complied with the necessary requisites set forth by the Singaporean government.

Matutum Meat was one of two Mindanao firms earlier identified by the Department of Agriculture to spearhead the country’s foray in the foreign pork market. The other was the Davao City-based Nenita’s Quality Foods Corp., which has been undergoing management changes since last year.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap had originally targeted the nation’s foreign pork shipment to take place in July last year.

Matutum Meat officials could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday for the date of the pilot pork shipment, as Ms. Callanta said that such is being arranged by the company with the Singaporean buyers.

Ms. Callanta earlier said that Nenita’s application to export pork meat products to Singapore was not approved, pending improvements to its facilities.

"Also, there are changes in the management of Nenita’s. But we have not withdrawn its bid for accreditation," said Ms. Callanta, without elaborating.

Nenita’s facilities are reportedly being taken over by the Davao meat processors’ cooperative.

Ms. Callanta said the looming foray in the foreign market for pork products is getting a boost through the Mindanao hog export program undertaken by the Agriculture department.

"The focus is to require accredited swine farms to practice good animal husbandry," she explained.

She said the Bureau of Animal Industry, another agency attached to the Department of Agriculture, is spearheading this thrust.

Singaporean food and veterinary experts inspected the facilities of Matutum Meat last January and did not immediately issue a clearance to the firm due to concerns over anti-biotic residues on pork meat.

The foreign experts also required the firm to comply with requirements like tire disinfectant for vehicles and chlorination of water for washing pork meat.

Stephen Castillo, Matutum Meat manager, earlier noted that if the Singaporean market will be successfully penetrated, it would boost the swine industry of the country since Singapore’s standards serve as the barometer for other nations in Southeast Asia.

"We can then pry open the other foreign markets in the region if we can make it in Singapore," he said.

Matutum Meat, a sister company of Cebu-based Sunpride Foods, Inc. which produces Holiday corned beef and Sunpride canned goods, has invested around P200 million for its state-of-the-art processing plant in Polomolok town, 15 minutes from this city.

Mindanao has been chosen by the national government to initiate the country’s pork export since the island has been certified as free from the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), the recognition coming from the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) or World Organization for Animal Health. The government is awaiting OIE certification that Luzon is also FMD-free, making the entire country achieve this status since the Visayas has also been declared as free from this disease. - Romer S. Sarmiento, BusinessWorld
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