Cebu pork producers support Luzon as meat demand spikes
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - October 17, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Cebu pork producers are now helping Luzon to meet high demand for meat products, following the effects of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the region.

“We see this as both beneficial to Luzon and Cebu and we are willing to support Luzon with their shortage as long as we have enough here until the market in Cebu normalizes,” said Virginia Farms, Inc. president Rolando E. Tambago.

The company has initially shipped 1,600 prime live hogs to Luzon and has received more orders for live hogs and frozen carcasses.

Tambago said he has received calls from his contacts in Luzon since September and has started shipping prime live hogs and frozen carcass since start of October.

Virginia Farms, Inc. is the oldest and currently the biggest integrated farm-to-fork swine business in Central Visayas operating a 360-hectare farm in the town of Asturias and The Pork Shop, the biggest pork retail chain in Cebu.

According to Tambago, the opportunity proved timely since Cebu currently has a huge surplus of both live hogs and meat since the market demand has slowed down due to the pandemic.

He explained that Cebu’s local pork consumption has decreased since March during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and has not returned to its normal level since. However, local players are expecting the demand to start improving by December 2020.

Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Dr. Ronnie D. Domingo welcomed the development and was thankful for Cebu’s help saying it is great news for Metro Manila especially that the “ber” months are here and demand is expected to rise.

In a recent article published by The Manila Times, Agriculture Undersecretary for Livestock William Medrano has forecasted a 45-day deficit on local pork supply at the end of the year.

Tambago who is also the immediate past president of the Central Visayas Pork Producers Cooperative (CeViPPCo) reiterated the importance of keeping Cebu ASF-free.

“Cebu is the 4th largest pork producing province in the country with the local hog industry valued at P11 billion. The farmers here produce 53,890 metric tons of pork annually and with major producers in Luzon and Mindanao already affected by ASF, it is important that we protect Cebu, it being the remaining major producer of pork with no ASF cases in the country,” he said.

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