Pork production losses due to ASF to reach 1.1 million metric tons
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - February 14, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines could lose 1.1 million metric tons in pork production this year due to the overall impact of the African swine fever (ASF), the head of the Philippine Veterinary Drug Association (PVDA) said.

On the sidelines of the International Farmers Summit in Pasay City, PVDA president Eugene Mende told reporters the projected production loss may result if the country does not act out to prevent the further spread of the ASF.

He added that the estimated numbers translate to an 80 percent production loss in backyard farms and a 30 percent production loss in commercial farms.

“Because of that scenario where there’s no vaccine for ASF, and we’re really killing this much hogs in the backyard, this will be the potential number of losses if we are not able to prevent and address the spread of ASF,” Mende said.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) earlier reported that 1.7 percent of the 12.7 million national swine population has been depopulated.

Apart from the culled swine, Mende emphasized that fear also plays a factor in potential production losses, as a number of backyard farms have been discouraged to raise hogs.

He emphasized the importance of managing fear among the hograisers industry.

“It’s important to educate everyone in areas that have not been hit by ASF so that they will remain negative from the virus,” Mende said.

Mende added that the projected 1.1 million production loss may also result to a 800 million metric ton supply shortage of pork in the country.

“We encourage recovery and repopulation. Hopefully the vaccine comes so that people won’t be afraid and we can recover and start over,” he added.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said apart from crafting plans for recovery and repopulation, there is also a need to consider other commodities that can be substitute of pork.

While poultry is the top alternative to pork, Dar said there should be a basket of options to consider, one of which he affirmed is rabbit.

“We have talked with them and we are supportive of their industry because its growth cycle nun is lesser than other potential substitute,” Dar said referring to talks with a group of rabbit raisers.

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