The SPCEF urged to boost the competitiveness of the poultry and pig sectors
The chairman of the House Agriculture and Food Committee is pushing for passage of a bill creating the Swine and Poultry Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (SPCEF).
Panel Chairman and Quezon Representative Mark Enverga said he introduced Bill 3570 last month to strengthen the local pork and poultry industry and amend Republic Act No. 8178, or the law on agricultural pricing.
RA 8178 adopted the use of tariffs, Enverga said, instead of non-tariff import restrictions to protect local producers of agricultural products affected by the lifting of quantitative import restrictions.
According to Enverga, the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) has been established under which tariff revenue from agricultural products imported below the minimum access volume is to accumulate and be used for various programs and projects and other forms of assistance and support to the agricultural sector.
However, lawmakers said the funds were only used to extend credit support to improve competitiveness.
“The ACEF Funds had a lifespan of nine years. Republic Act No. 9496, enacted in 2008, extended the life of ACEF to 2015,” he said.
“Republic Act No. 10848 again extended ACEF through 2022 and restricted the funds to an 80% credit; 10% as a grant for research and development; and 10% for the grant program for agriculture-related courses,” he added.
In 2019, Enverga declared Republic Act No. 11203, as amended RA 8178, which lifted the quantitative restriction on the importation of rice and established the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund for this purpose to help cushion the impact of the liberalization of the rice industry.
“New changes are currently being sought with the emergence of diseases and epidemics in the livestock and poultry sectors, for example African swine fever and avian influenza, which have necessitated the importation of pork and chicken in order to cope with rising prices and supply shortfall,” he said.
Enverga said the most affected sectors are calling for the establishment of the Pork and Poultry Competitiveness Enhancement Fund where tariff revenue for imported pork and chicken will increase and be used for programs, projects and activities. aimed at strengthening the local pork and poultry industries.
Enverga said the country’s struggling pork and poultry industries needed all the support to survive under this import regime.
“Let’s help ease their burden and create a dedicated fund to put in place the necessary programs, projects and activities that will cushion the impact and eventually make them competitive and thriving again, after all, food security is our primary goal, ” he added.
Under the terms of the bill, the SPCEF will be made up of all tariff revenue collected on imports of meat and poultry products by the Customs Office to be automatically credited to a special account in the general fund of the national treasury, which will be opened within 90 days. days from the entry into force of the act.
The bill stipulates that the Secretary of Agriculture will be accountable and responsible for the SPCEF in coordination with other relevant government agencies.
Additionally, he added that the DA and other relevant agencies must submit an annual report containing the status of the SPCEF and an impact assessment of the programs implemented under the law, to the Congressional Oversight Committee on the modernization of agriculture and fishing (COCAFM). COCAFM will periodically review the use of the SPCEF as needed.
At the end of the sixth year, the bill stipulates that a mandatory review must be carried out by COCAFM to determine whether the SPCEF and its use as envisaged by the proposal should be modified, terminated or extended for a maximum period of five years.
Once the SPCEF is terminated, the bill provides that the reservation of the fees collected for this purpose will end.
However, the measure stipulates that any balance remaining on the expiry date of the collection of fees for the SPCEF will remain in the special account and continue to be used for the purposes for which it was collected and set aside.
Subject to normal accounting and auditing rules and regulations, the bill provides that the SPCEF will be allocated and disbursed for disease prevention and outbreaks, including vaccination; competent and modern diagnostic laboratories; research and development facilities; subsidies for transport and cost of freight, development, propagation and promotion of pigs and poultry.
The bill adds that the SPCEF will be allocated as credit assistance which will be made available in the form of a credit facility with minimum interest rates and with minimum collateral requirements for pig farmers. and poultry and cooperatives, which will be managed equally by the Agricultural Credit Policy Board, the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines and the insurance program will be administered by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation.
Enverga said priority will be given to pork and poultry production areas. -30-