Sabah aims to increase supply of pork with more import licences

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has approved eight applications to import pork products to supplement the state’s domestic pork supply, which has been severely affected by African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, who is also Sabah Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, said the import and export licence applications were submitted to the import and export licensing committee under the Sabah Veterinary Services Department (DVS).

“Sabah’s pork industry has been devastated by the ASF virus, which has killed over 10,000 pigs in Sabah since last year,” he said in a statement here on Saturday (July 16).

He said the virus had forced the closure of a total of 11 commercial pig farms, with two in Sandakan, Keningau (two), Papar (three), Kota Kinabalu (three) and Penampang (one) to prevent ASF from spreading to adjacent farms.

Kitingan explained that unlike its neighbour Sarawak, Sabah’s Pig Farming Area (PFA) in Tongod in central Sabah was still in the early stages of operation and that the infrastructure there was far from ready.

He hoped that productivity would increase and similar risks such as ASF would be minimised in the future once all 44 pig farms in Sabah are centralised.

He also said that prices of pork, chicken and eggs in Sabah follow the ceiling price set by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry as well as the consensus of several bodies including Sabah DVS, 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 less supply in the market.

“Eggs, being the cheapest source of protein, are in high demand. With the recent Hari Raya Haji celebration, it is not surprising that egg supply is in short supply right now.

“But rest assured, egg supply remains consistent as reported by major local egg producers,” Kitingan said.

Meanwhile, he said chicken has become more expensive due to feed costs.

He said there were reports that global prices of animal feed were decreasing.

“I hope this will result in lower market prices of chicken and beef soon,” he added.

Meanwhile, Sabah DVS director Dr Normah Yusof said they were currently renovating its three slaughterhouses in Inanam, Kudat and Sandakan.

“Once construction is finished, which is scheduled for the end of this year, pig farmers will be able to use these slaughterhouses to reduce production costs.

“As a result, the price of pork in the market should also drop,” she said.