Freeman Cebu Business

Cebu-based meat shop expands amid ASF threats

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Amidst the ongoing threat of African Swine Fever (ASF) especially in the provinces of Leyte, a Cebu-based meat shop is bent on pursuing an aggressive store opening in the region.

The retail arm of Virginia Farms Inc. (VFI), The Pork Shop, recently opened another store in Tacloban City last June 18, 2021, months after it opened its Ormoc City store.

“We operate our own farm in Asturias, Cebu and we also have our own slaughterhouse and meat cutting plant. In all our operations, we practice the highest standard and complies with all government standards,” said Virginia Farms, Inc. president Rolando E. Tambago.

ASF has affected several towns in Eastern Visayas, mostly in Leyte, when it first hit Abuyog last January 2021.

Operated by franchisee Monav Food Products Corp, the Tacloban store aims to provide safe and fresh ASF-free meat products to Tacloban consumers, as the region is still battling the threats of ASF.

“The opening of the branch in Tacloban provides consumers in Leyte more access to local pork that’s guaranteed fresh and safe to eat,” Tambago added.

Virginia Farms claim on safety is backed by its piggeries’ Environmental Compliance Certificate. It is also currently processing for Good Animal Husbandry Practices Certifications.

The Virginia Slaughterhouse and Meat Plant and its meat cutting plant in Maguikay, Mandaue City are both NMIS-accredited and fully observes the food safety standards imposed by the agency, Tambago said.

Eastern Visayas, specifically the province of Leyte has several municipalities that were hit by ASF forcing the government to cull at least 4,000 hogs. This resulted to shortage in supply and driving prices of pork to a higher than normal level.

With the opening of its Tacloban branch, The Pork Shop now has a total of 47 branches in Cebu, three in Iloilo, one in Naval, Biliran, and two in Leyte.

“The goal is to make sure every Filipino will have access to guaranteed fresh, local and safe to eat pork products that is why we continue to expand and open branches even in the middle of ASF and COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tambago.

More branches are lined up for opening in Leyte and Samar this year as the company continues to expand.

The Pork Shop will also be opening a branch in Balamban, Cebu on July 18, 2021.

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