The Department of Agriculture in Western Visayas is looking forward to more markets for hog raisers in the region with the reopening of the economy.
“Hopefully with the opening up of the economy, our usual market which is Boracay and Iloilo City will increase also their demands for pork products,” Remelyn Recoter, regional executive director of DA 6, said.
Currently, growers in the region are enjoying the high buying price of live hogs at P150 to P170 per kilo.
The highest buying price for live hogs is in Antique at P170 a kilo that triggered the market price of pork to hit P270 a kilo.
As of the first quarter of the year, the hog population in Western Visayas reached over one million, the Philippine Statistics Authority inventory showed.
So far, the region has shipped around 75,000 heads to Luzon while last year, around 70,000 live heads were shipped out of Western Visayas.
“The supply deficit in Manila due to the African swine fever was seen as an opportunity for those in the green zones or ASF-free areas to ship out their products,” she added.
However, they are anticipating that with the arrival of the importation, there will be a reduction of shipment to Manila, Recoter said.
The DA and the provincial veterinarians are also devising plans to ensure unhampered hog movement to Luzon without compromising the region’s industry from the threats of the ASF.
“Efforts are being made to protect the more than P20-billion industry of the region in which 89 percent are backyard raisers. Our hog shipment to Luzon has provided the farmers the opportunity to earn more, considering that before the pandemic, the live weight price for hogs was only at P85-P90 per kilogram and the average production costs of hog raisers in the region was P120 per kilogram,” Recoter said.
The provincial veterinarians proposed for the temporary suspension or the banning of livestock transport carriers registered outside the region to operate in Panay Island, with the premise that the unregulated movement of trucking vehicles will only lead to local ASF incidence. Biosecurity protocols and proper disinfection of transport carriers were reportedly not strictly being followed, thus causing alarms to the local task force.
Recoter said the DA has crafted repopulation and restocking programs to help hog raisers to recover and revive the industry even in the green zone areas through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council, Land Bank of the Philippines, and the Development Bank of the Philippines. She urged all farmers in Region VI to immediately report any suspicious and sudden swine mortalities as the government has readied an indemnification program for affected farmers. The public should also refrain from online buying and selling of pork and pork by-products to prevent the spread of the hog virus in the region, she added.*PNA/DA