KOTA KINABALU: The Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry has approved eight applications to import pork products from overseas to supplement Sabah’s domestic pork supply.
Its minister Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the applications were submitted to the Committee on Import and Export Licensing under the Sabah Department of Veterinary Services (DVS).
“These are necessary because Sabah’s pork industry has been devastated by the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus, which has killed over 10,000 pigs throughout Sabah since last year.
“The virus has also prompted the closure of 11 commercial pig farms in Sandakan (2), Keningau (2), Papar (3), Kota Kinabalu (3) and Penampang (1) to prevent further infections to adjacent farms,” he said in a statement here today.
Kitingan explained that, unlike its neighbouring region Sarawak, Sabah’s Pig Farming Area (PFA) in Tongod is still in the early stages of operation and the infrastructure are far from ready.
He hoped that once all 44 pig farms in Sabah are centralised, productivity would increase and similar risks such as ASF would be minimised in the future.
Kitingan also clarified that the pricing of pork, chicken and eggs in Sabah are determined by the ceiling price set by the KPDNKK as well as the consensus of several bodies including DVS Sabah, representatives from the Sabah Livestock Association (SLA) and marketers.
“In terms of eggs and chicken, there are various factors at play. Fish, a good source of protein, is relatively pricey these days, because bad weather means less fishing activity, and thus less supply in the market.
“Therefore, egg, being the cheapest protein source, is in high demand. With the recent Hari Raya Aidiladha celebration, it is not surprising that egg supply appears to be in short supply right now. But rest assured, the supply remains consistent, as reported by major local egg producers.
“Chicken has become more expensive due to feed costs. The good news is that there is a report that the global price of animal feed is decreasing. I hope this will result in lower market prices of chicken and beef soon,” he said.
Meanwhile, DVS Director Dr Normah Yusof said the department is currently renovating its three slaughterhouses in Inanam, Kudat and Sandakan.
“Once the construction is finished, which is scheduled end of this year, pig farmers will be able to use these slaughterhouses to reduce production costs. It is hoped that as a result, the price of pork in the market will also fall,” she said.