BACOLOD CITY – The Negros Occidental provincial government is poised to increase its hog production to help affected provinces after the country has been placed under a state of calamity due to the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak.
“More ASF-free pigs will not only ensure stable supply and price of pork, but will also help other provinces hit hard by the dreaded disease,” said provincial veterinarian Renante Decena in a statement on Wednesday.
Negros Occidental, tagged as a “green zone” or an ASF-free province, is one of the most trusted and major suppliers of pigs for slaughter in Luzon, and has recently expanded its market for hogs in the area.
Records of the Provincial Veterinary Office showed that Negros Occidental produces an average of 75,000 heads of market hogs per month.
With a monthly consumption of only 55,000 to 60,000 heads, the province has a surplus of at least 10,000 heads, making it capable of supplying hogs to other areas in the country, Decena said.
For Luzon, Negros Occidental has been shipping fattened hogs through a port in Manila, but was able to ship directly through Batangas recently to cater to markets in Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna.
On May 10, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation 1143, placing the entire country under a state of calamity for one year due to the ASF outbreak, allowing the government to tap its quick response fund.
According to the directive, the ASF has spread to 2,571 barangays, 493 cities and towns, 46 provinces, and 12 regions since it was first detected in 2019.
So far, the Philippines has lost around three million hogs, translating to losses of more than PHP100 billion for the local hog sector and allied industries, and an increase in prices of pork products.
Proclamation 1143 cited an urgent need to address the continued spread of ASF and its adverse impact to jumpstart rehabilitation of the hog industry to ensure the availability, adequacy, and affordability of pork in the market.
“All government agencies and LGUs (local government units) are enjoined to render full assistance to and cooperation with each other, and mobilize the necessary resources to undertake critical, urgent and appropriate measures in a timely manner to curtail the further spread of ASF, address the supply deficit in pork products, reduce retail prices, and jumpstart the rehabilitation of the local hog industry,” it added.
Decena said there must be a rehabilitation of the industry at the local level through LGU-initiated programs like restocking and repopulation.
“We sympathize with those LGUs in 12 regions affected by the ASF outbreak, but we also urge them to follow our local initiatives especially those aimed at ensuring the stable supply of pork and its price,” he added.
The provincial government here has distributed 1,500 piglets and 200 gilts to raisers in different localities since last year as part of its restocking and repopulation measure.
In late 2019, Negros Occidental started to ban the entry of pork and pork products coming from Luzon and Mindanao after ASF cases were reported in these islands.
In January this year, the province also imposed a ban on live pigs and pork coming from Eastern Samar, which also has confirmed cases of swine disease. (PNA)