SMFI reconsiders piggery shutdown due to LGU, biz partners’ clamor

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MALAYBALAY CITY (05 March  2021/BukidnonNews.Net) San Miguel Foods, Inc. (SMFI) is no longer proceeding with its earlier announced decision to shut down its piggeries in Bukidnon, an official said.

Christopher Pangga, SMFI Regional Operations Manager, said the top management has reconsidered its decision.

“Mr. Ramon Ang, (chair of San Miguel Corporation) decided to continue the hog operations of SMFI due to the clamor from the government and business partners,” he said in a message to BukidnonNews.Net on March 5.  

It was Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. who announced the SMFI decision on February 12 in the presence of Agriculture Sec. William Dar, who was in the province to meet with affected local hog raisers, among other things.

Zubiri said SMFI management relayed their decision to continue to operate their piggeries in the province on February 11, which deviated from SMFI's announcements days earlier that the African Swine Flu (ASF) has devastated their operations in Luzon forcing them to exit the hog industry.  

Details of Zubiri’s pronouncements were cited in two resolutions passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on February 16, copies of which were obtained by BukidnonNews.Net from the Public Affairs and Information and Assistance (PAIA) on March 2.  
“The top management of SMFI were merely adapting a new scheme by reorganizing around local growers and local slaughter due to transport issues,” the governor relayed his discussion with SMFI as quoted in SP Resolution No. 2021-2337.  The governor gave a privilege speech before the SP on that day.

The resolution commended SMFI board of directors led by Ang, for “not pushing through with its earlier decision to shut down all Monterey piggeries in the province”.  Another resolution credited Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, citing his intervention resulted in the reconsideration.  

Unlike its pronouncement earlier in February, SMFI has not released any public statement on the reconsideration as of March 3, 2021.

Board Member Nemesio Beltran Jr. told BukidnonNews.Net he received information SMFI has already contacted the contract growers about the change in decision.  

A source at the Municipal Government of Sumilao, where SMFI operates its piggeries in Brgy. San Vicente, said the company has renewed its business permit to operate as of February 8, 2021.   

SMFI, a hog integrator, signed agreements with five contract growers in the province to supply hog for its Monterey brand pork products. The contract growers run their breeding, growing and other hog farms under the supervision of SMFI.  

In January 2021, a source said SMFI informed the contract growers about its decision giving them barely two months before the scheduled last breeding date, on February 28.

Local hog raisers sought the intervention of the provincial government, prompting the SP hearing on February 2 attended by representatives from SMFI and the local hog raisers. Zubiri joined another session on February 9, where he expressed his disappointment at SMFI for the so-called “drastic” decision. Senator Zubiri reportedly negotiated with Ang for the reconsideration.

Local hog raisers refused to be interviewed for comments on the situation for this story, adding they were still contemplating on their next step.

Agriculture Sec. William Dar assured local hog raisers in a meeting on February 12 that the group can get help from the government by availing a loan from the P29.5 billion allocation to enhance the recovery and repopulation of hog industry program in green zone areas, or areas where there are no ASF cases. Bukidnon has remained an ASF-free province.

Bukidnon tops Northern Mindanao’s commercial hog production in metric tons of liveweight at 58,019 tons, owning 11.3 percent share of the total national production. Northern Mindanao lags behind Calabarzon’s 15.9 percent share to national production, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Swine Situation Report for October to December 2020, released on February 8, 2021. (BukidnonNews.Net with a report from Mel B. Madera, Correspondent)

In Photo: Facade of a meat shop in Malaybalay City selling Monterey products, one of the brands of San Miguel Foods, Inc.  Photo by Augustus Caesar Buhawi Madera

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