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Losses from African swine fever now at P135 billion
The Philippine hog industry is worth around P248 billion based on official data from the government but Sinag said the industry is actually worth around P300 billion.
AFP

Losses from African swine fever now at P135 billion

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - January 16, 2021 - 12:00am

No respite seen from rising pork prices

MANILA, Philippines — The Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) is claiming that the deadly African swine fever (ASF) has already wiped out P135 billion from  the livestock industry as the disease continues to spread in the country.

The Philippine hog industry is worth around P248 billion based on official data from the government but Sinag said the industry is actually worth around P300 billion.

“The total hog industry is at 13 million heads. And so far, we have lost 5.8 million heads already,” Sinag chairman Rosendo So said.

“Our problem right now is the price but I don’t think that will be solved anytime soon. We are relying on Visayas and Mindanao for our supply, but what if they suddenly decide to stop shipping for their own consumption? That’s a bigger problem,” he said.

The Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines (ProPork), on the other hand, said losses in hog inventory are now  at 37.6 percent of the 14.7 million heads pre-ASF.

This means that roughly 5.51 million heads have already been lost.

“Estimates from the PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority) are too low. That’s why we need to harmonize our data so that we know how much is left in our inventory,” ProPork president Edwin Chen said in a text exchange.

While Sinag has not objected to imports to stabilize supply, So said the volume lost so far could not be filled by importation as 90 percent of pork requirements in the country is being supplied locally.

And as more importation is expected to boost inventory, Sinag reiterated its call for the government to build the country’s first border inspection facility to address smuggling and control the entry of animal diseases.

“We need to look at our borders with the entry of frozen meat products. These products continue to come in without us testing them, “ said So.

“That’s why the DA cannot stop the spread of ASF. We hope the government can prioritize this so that the local industry will be encouraged to venture into hog raising again,” he said.

The DA is set to hire project members to finalize the detailed architectural and engineering designs required by the Department of Budget and Management for the release of the allocated funds for the construction of the facility at the Port of Manila.

The proposal for its establishment was approved in principle, during the December 2019 cabinet meeting, with an initial budget of P522 million.

The first border inspection facility will serve as a one-stop-shop for regulatory inspections of imported agricultural products, and a common facility for the DA to prevent the entry of animal, fish and plant diseases into the country.

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