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P10 million allotted to augment pork supply
The DA, through its attached agency National Tobacco Administration, has earmarked the additional budget to augment the operating capital of NTA’s Kadiwa meat processing facility in Ilocos Sur in an attempt to stabilize the supply and prices of pork in the metropolis.
STAR/Andy Zapata Jr., file

P10 million allotted to augment pork supply

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - January 22, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) has allocated P10 million to immediately augment pork supply in Metro Manila and ease the burden of consumers suffering from sky-high costs of food items.

The DA, through its attached agency National Tobacco Administration, has earmarked the additional budget to augment the operating capital of NTA’s Kadiwa meat processing facility in Ilocos Sur in an attempt to stabilize the supply and prices of pork in the metropolis.

Sen. Leila de Lima meanwhile called for a Senate investigation into the alarming increases in the prices of basic commodities, saying this greatly affects the country’s poorest households.

“It is imperative for the Senate, along with other key agencies, to discuss and assess the primary causes of this unabated increases in prices in basic commodities including pork, vegetables and fish. The State and its agencies must identify the policy levers that can rein in excessive volatility and maintain prices within a reasonable band,” she said.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros also called on the DA to expand the supply of domestic chicken, as it rapidly becomes the preferred protein source together with eggs at the family table amid the rising prices of pork in the market.

Pork prices, she added, increased almost twice as much compared to pre-pandemic levels and have been the immediate trigger of widening concerns over hunger.

Latest market monitoring showed the prices of pork ham or kasim ranging from P350 to P400 per kilogram while pork belly or liempo is now at P400 to P440 a kilo.

“We are pressed to increase the supply of pork and temper its rocketing price in Metro Manila,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar, who concurrently chairs the DA-NTA Board.

With the additional P10 million, the NTA will buy hogs from ASF-free areas in the Ilocos provinces and Abra that will be slaughtered and processed at the Narvacan facility.

Pork and pork products will be delivered to Metro Manila at an average of 5,000 kilos per day to boost inventory in the capital and eventually bring down prices.

NTA administrator Robert Seares said the NTA Kadiwa will initially slaughter 520 hogs, equivalent to 52,000 kilos and will commence in the second week of February.

The NTA meat processing facility has an “AA” accreditation from the DA’s National Meat Inspection Service. Aside from pork meat, the NTA Kadiwa produces bagnet, longganisa, bacon, ham, tapa and tocino. It also serves as a poultry dressing facility and a TESDA-accredited training school for slaughtering.

Meanwhile, the DA is also calling on backyard and commercial hog raisers to secure insurance packages to recover investments in case their farms will be affected by the African swine fever pestilence, which it said is still far from over. – Cecille Suerte Felipe

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE PORK
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