ASF detected in Visayas Region; DA eyes importation of pork to stabilize prices

Marje Pelayo   •   January 18, 2021   •   636

MANILA, Philippines — The African Swine Fever (ASF) has been detected in Eastern Visayas, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The cases were detected in the municipality of Abuyog, Leyte specifically in barangays Can-Apurong and Canmarating.

Thus, the local government unit decided to limit the entry and exit of pork products in the municipality from January 14 to February 15 to curb the possible spread of ASF to nearby areas.

The LGU has set a depopulation or culling of swines in areas within the 500-meter radius from ground zero while swine raisers will be compensated with P5,000 for each adult pig and P2,000 for each piglet.

Following the detection of ASF in Visayas region, traders fear it might affect the supply of pork transported to Luzon given that Eastern Visayas is among the main sources of pork since most areas of Luzon were affected by ASF.

During an interview on Monday (January 18), Secretary William Dar assured that the DA already allotted P400 million to help hog raisers repopulate the country’s hog industry.

Dar also said, the agency is eyeing importation of pork to stabilize pork prices in the local market.

“Kasama po iyan sa plano at pinag-aaralan namin na dagdagan ang minimum access volume to triple of what is allowed. Ang allowed ngayon is 54,000 metric tons isang taon kung pwede ay i-triple ito para madagdagan ang pork supply sa bansa,” he said.

DA starts vaccine trials for African Swine Fever

Marje Pelayo   •   April 29, 2021

African Swine Fever vaccine

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI) has begun initial vaccine trials in areas previously affected by African Swine Fever (ASF).

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the trials commenced on April 23 with 10 commercial swine farms participating.

The project is in collaboration with a US vaccine company and Zoetis, a global animal health company.

Zoetis is the major collaborator of the experimental new vaccine for ASF which has prevented the virus from killing pigs in early trials in other countries.

The ASF vaccine trials will be conducted and monitored by the DA-BAI personnel and veterinarians for 84 days.

Such procedures are in line with the current protocols set by the government technical working group, the vaccine manufacturer and Zoetis Philippines, Inc.

The Agriculture chief said they are currently coordinating with the provincial veterinarians on the conduct of the vaccine trials to ensure successful implementation.

He assured that all BAI veterinarians underwent orientation and are ready for deployment.

The DA chief added that the trials in participating farms will depend on the agreement by the concerned parties, the availability of trial animals, schedule of the farm and BAI veterinarian and Zoetis representatives.

Secretary Dar is hopeful that the vaccine trials will yield positive results and finally eradicate the disease that has caused significant impact on the country’s hog industry and  loss of income for local hog raisers.

The disease also reduced hog population and supply which pushed pork prices up to the disadvantage of consumers.

“The vaccine trials complement our ongoing ‘Bantay ASF sa Barangay’ program. We consider it as the proverbial ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ that would free us from this dark episode that adversely affected our swine industry, pork supply and prices,” Secretary Dar said.

“Once proven effective, the ASF vaccine will serve as a potent tool, complementing our joint efforts with the LGUs, private sector, and hog raisers to effectively control, contain and manage the spread of the ASF, thus paving way for the industry’s faster recovery,” he said.

DA to impose SRP on imported pork beginning April 9

Marje Pelayo   •   April 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) will be imposing a suggested retail price (SRP) on imported pork which is now cheaper than locally produced meat.

At present, the price of kasim is P270 per kilogram; while liempo costs P350 per kilogram.

Likewise, the DA will require importers and retailers to put proper labeling in each package for easy distinction and for the protection of consumers.

“The DA thru the NMIS-the National Meat Inspection Service will require importers to package their pork, of course, those 2 categories– Liempo or Kasim, into salable packages of 1 kilo or 500 grams,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

Thursday (April 8) is the last day of a two-month implementation of the price cap on pork and poultry meat.

The DA plans to focus on additional strategies to prevent a further spike in the prices of such commodities.

The DA sees a possible importation of pork meat and a lowering of tariff.

But while this strategy remains pending approval, the DA will continue transporting pork from African Swine Fever-free provinces to Metro Manila to stabilize supply.

The agency also sees the repopulation of pigs in ASF-free areas.

“Iyong dati, iyong price cap will not solve the problem. Ang bottom line pa rin ay supply,” noted Dar.

“Price capping is just one of the measures. So to stabilize prices talaga you have to complete those other measures to be in place,” he added.

The DA has allocated P45-M for the procurement of freezers which will be provided to retailers.

A compliance monitoring team will also be created to ensure that retailers are observing and following the SRP.

For its part, the Trade Department hopes that an additional supply of pork will help stabilize the prices.

“I think P320 to P350 hopefully will be the ideal price moving forward. Given maybe the expected supply asahan natin na dyan po iikot ang presyo in a way medyo istable na,” said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

But for consumers, the implementation of the price cap remains best as they hope to hear the result of the investigation on the alleged manipulation in pork prices as soon as possible.

“Dito sa SRP suggested di ba? Suggested retail prices. So malikot pa rin ang presyo sa palengke,” said the group’s representative Atty. Vic Dimagiba. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

DA eyes SRP for pork, chicken after price cap

Marje Pelayo   •   April 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) believes that the implementation of the price ceiling has been effective in controlling the prices of pork in the country.

This, even if the P270 to P300 pesos per kilogram price cap was not followed in the past two months.

Prior to the price ceiling, pork products were sold at a staggering P450 pesos per kilogram specifically in February.

“Successful ang overall lahat ng measures towards the price cap at least hindi na umabot ng P400 (per kilo),” noted DA Secretary William Dar.

Now, prices of pork in Metro Manila markets range from P350 to P400 pesos.

The DA is currently looking into setting a suggested retail price after the lifting of the price ceiling for pork and chicken on April 8.

“We are looking at the SRP structure pero wala pa kaming recommendations. We will finalize before April 8,” Dar said.

The DA will also assess if it will continue the transport assistance for hog raisers from provinces delivered in Metro Manila.

A group of dealers and vendors in the Commonwealth market, opposes the setting of SRP but favors the implementation of a price cap.

“Mas lalong walang masusunod na presyo dyan kasi suggested retail price lang yan… pwedeng magkaroon sila ng dayaan mataas ang baboy si ganito, pwedeng magsinungaling,” said meat dealer Toto Rillo.

Meanwhile, the farmgate price of chicken decreased by P40 pesos per kilogram since March 12.

The United Broiler Raiser’s Association said this is the effects of the past holiday season and the reimplementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

“May impact na talaga lack of purchasing power nung consumers, down talaga ang economy natin. Ang curfew nila ngayon is 6 o’clock. Malaki nawawala sa demand. kahit yung mga lechon manok apektado,” noted Atty. Bong Inciong of the United Broiler Raiser’s Association (UBRA).

UBRA favors the implementation of SRP provided that prices will be recomputed to reflect the appropriate price.

The group, on the other hand, opposes the implementation of the price ceiling.

“The price cap will be counterproductive because you are distorting the prices. maraming mawawalan ng gana because you are distorting the prices and the incentives to be produce or import to increase supply,” it said. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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