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Pork production unlikely to recover as ASF lingers
In the latest report of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Foreign Agricultural Service, pork production for 2021 will fail to recover after a challenging year as ASF continues to discourage commercial operations from reinvesting in the sector.
STAR/ File

Pork production unlikely to recover as ASF lingers

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - January 2, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Prospects in the local pork industry remain bleak this year as the continued spread of African swine fever (ASF) dampens hopes for higher production.

In the latest report of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Foreign Agricultural Service, pork production for 2021 will fail to recover after a challenging year as ASF continues to discourage commercial operations from reinvesting in the sector.

This, in turn, has led to spiking consumer pork prices.

“We no longer see a rebound in Philippine pork production in 2021, as commercial operations have yet to regain confidence that they can safely produce and be permitted to market their pork products throughout the country so long as ASF and ASF-related restrictions remain widespread,” the USDA said.

“As such, 2021 swine inventories and production are expected to continue falling. Some estimates already put the commercial herd below three million heads,” it said.

Domestic pork production is seen declining 10 percent to one million metric tons in 2021 from the expected 1.12 million MT for 2020.

The deadly hog disease remains an issue in the Philippines with 406,899 pigs already killed since the outbreak started in August 2019. ASF is now present in 11 regions, 34 provinces, 392 municipalities and 2,061 barangays in the country.

Consumption is also seen decreasing three percent to 1.22 million MT in 2021 from last year’s expected 1.26 million MT.

Because of the lower production, imports are expected to surge 50 percent to 225,000 MT from the 2020 level of 150,000 MT.

In its report, the USDA said, “2021 imports will only partially offset further reductions in production given higher local prices and global competition for pork supplies.”

“Despite a strong downturn in 2020 pork production, intra-Philippine trade restrictions on processed meat products containing pork have largely reduced pork demand nationwide, and in turn, also reduced demand for pork imports,” it added.

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