MANILA -- Processed meat sales have gone down due to the African swine fever scare, the head of an industry group said Tuesday, as he warned of potential job losses due to reduced profits.
With 62 out of 84 provinces banning the sale of pork products from Luzon, sales went down by 30 to 40 percent while profits were nearly halved, said Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc spokesperson Rex Agarrado.
"We run the risk of also laying off our people," Agarrado said without elaborating.
The P300-billion processed meat industry employs 150,000 people, he said.
Members of PAMPI are planning to stop sourcing meat locally for its products, which could affect hog raisers, Agarrado said.
"Madami pong g*** dito sa atin. It is very possible that pork from infected areas are finding their way into the food chain right now," he said.
"This could happen to us if we keep on buying local pigs. Imported pigs have all the controls," he said.
Processed meat manufacturers in the Philippines import about 90 to 95 percent of pork and chicken requirements, and source the remaining 5 to 10 percent from local farms.
"Masakit man (It is painful), we have to protect ourselves now," Agarrado said.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said an inter-agency task force would meet on Wednesday to find ways to curb the impact of ASF on industries and businesses.