DA relaxes conditions for insured ASF-affected hog raisers

Marje Pelayo   •   February 26, 2021   •   502

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (DA-PCIC) has relaxed conditions for paying hog raisers for their losses under its insurance program for hogs.

This is in support of the Duterte government’s initiative to revitalize hog production amid the African Swine Fever (ASF) epidemic.

During its regular meeting on Wednesday (February 24), the PCIC Board of Directors approved the DA proposal to pay losses resulting from government-ordered culling or slaughter of insured hogs.

Likewise, the Board agrees to raise the payable amount up to 100 percent of the insurance cover or the total sum insured.

The move is expected to help encourage the raising of over 10 million heads of swine among commercial and backyard raisers. 

The stocks to be insured will be a mix of fatteners and breeders, including grandparent stock, among the commercial raisers; and fatteners and breeders, among the backyard raisers.

Backyard hog raisers currently receive free insurance, provided they are listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), the country’s database of bona fide subsistence farmers and fisherfolk. But they will be covered by the relaxed provision on indemnity payment and culling or emergency slaughter, the DA further said.

Moreover, the Board directed the PCIC to increase the number of backyard hog raisers to be provided insurance coverage, it added.

The agriculture department guarantees that these enhanced insurance policy features for the swine industry will remain in place until such time that the industry shall have stabilized or a vaccine or other veterinary solutions will have been developed for ASF.

Consistent with the DA policy, the PCIC will require commercial and backyard raisers to adhere to prescribed biosafety protocols, such as cleaning, disinfecting, and training in biosafety measures.

This protocol is contained in the DA Administrative Order No. 6, issued on February 6, 2021, entitled “Guidelines on the Implementation of the Recovery, Rehabilitation and Repopulation Assistance Program for ASF-affected and Non-ASF Affected Areas.”

Number of barangays with ASF drops to 43

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—  The number of barangays affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF) since August 2019 has dropped significantly.

From over 2,500 barangays, only 43 have active cases of ASF according to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).

However, BAI Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Dr. Reildrin Morales said, the fight against the viral disease is far from over and could take years before it can be completely eradicated from the country.

“Lahat may risk kaya we mitigate the risk. Spain took 30 years. We want to learn from their lessons. Hopefully mas maikli tayo lalo na if hindi magbebenta mga farms na may tama,” Morales said.

He added that ASF may also spread through transport of pigs and pork products, but he assured that measures are in place to prevent transmission.

“May integrity ang accreditation system natin sa importation, pre-border, border and second border natin,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines (ProPork) president, Nick Briones lamented that hog raisers do not report ASF cases.

“Sigurado di matitigil ang ASF dahil walang nagdedeclare na hog raisers kung may tama ng ASF,” he said.

To address issues on pork supply, the Department of Agriculture has rolled out its swine repopulation program, focusing on areas previously affected by the ASF outbreak. AAC ( with reports from Rey Pelayo)

 

 

DA urged to prioritize eradication of ASF, extension of aid to hog farmers

Robie de Guzman   •   April 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joel Villanueva on Monday called on the Department of Agriculture (DA) to “do everything in its power” to resolve the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak, and to prioritize the extension of aid to struggling local hog industry stakeholders.

“This food crisis is a local problem that must have a local solution. In order of priority, unahin po natin ang pagsugpo sa ASF at pagtulong sa mga magbababoy. Iyan ang tanong po natin sa DA ngayon. Ano po ang farm-level solutions nyo?” Villanueva said in Monday’s Senate hearing on the alleged “tongpats scheme” within the DA on imported pork.

Villanueva made the call as he expressed apprehension over President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 128 to temporarily lower the tariffs on pork imports to resolve the existing pork supply shortage and stabilize meat prices in the country.

“At hindi po ako naniniwala na ang solusyon sa krisis na ito ay mag-import ng karne. An imported virus is killing local pigs. We should not let too much imported pork finish off what is left of our hog industry. Our salvation cannot be found in foreign farms,” he said.

Villanueva said that the ASF outbreak has reduced the supply of local pork in the market and that he wants to know what the DA is doing to counter this scarcity that has been driving the prices of meat to unaffordable levels.

“Maliban sa pag-alis ng tariff walls, ano po ang farmgate interventions ng DA? The national swine inventory is down by 3 million heads. Piggeries have been emptied of one-fourth of their stocks. This 25-percent plunge in the livestock population translates to a 100-percent bankruptcy rate in many pig farms. Biyak na po pati kanilang piggy banks,” he said in a separate statement.

The senator noted that in Bulacan alone, the pork production inventory was already down by one-third last year while the hog production in the whole Central Luzon plunged to one-fourth in 2020.

“P8,000 po ang nawalang kita sa kada ulo ng baboy. Di hamak mas malaki po ito sa P1,000 na ayuda ng gobyerno kada ulo sa isang bahay,” he said.

Other senators have earlier called on Duterte to reconsider and recall EO 128 as this will only further burden local hog raisers who are already suffering from the negative impact of the ASF crisis.

Under EO 128, the tariff rate for imported pork meat within quota or minimum access volume will be pegged at 5 percent for the first three months of the order’s effectivity and 10 percent during the months four to 12.

For pork imports outside the quota, the order cuts the tariff to 15 percent during the first three months upon its effectivity, and 20 percent for the months four to 12.

The EO said that the current 30 percent to 40 percent tariff rate for imported pork will be restored after the 12th month.

“There is an urgent need to temporarily reduce the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff rates on fresh, chilled or frozen meat of swine to address the existing pork supply shortage, stabilize prices of pork meat, and minimize inflation rates,” Duterte said in his order.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, however, said there is no need to import more pork products because the local production is already more than sufficient to address the shortage of pork supply.

Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Lacson said the average nationwide consumption of pork products from 2018 to 2020 was at 1.85 million metric tons.

During the same period, the average annual local production of pork was 2.25 million metric tons.

“So where is the shortage? Hindi man malinaw na higit pa sa sapat ang supply mula sa local na production upang matugunan ang pangangailangan ng ating bansa?” Lacson said in his opening statement at the hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole on the food security crisis.

“Ito ay sa kabila ng umiiral na African Swine Fever (ASF) na nagsimulang nakapasok sa bansa noon pa mang Agosto 2019 na siyang ginawa nilang pangunahing dahilan sa pagkumbinsi kay Presidente Duterte upang pirmahan ang nasabing EO 128,” he added.

The investigation into the food security crisis stemmed from allegations about a kickback scheme in the pork importation process within the Department of Agriculture.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar earlier denied involvement in the alleged scheme and that an investigation has been launched into the issue.

Meat dealers want ‘nationwide price ceiling’ on pork

Marje Pelayo   •   April 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Meat dealers are urging the government to re-impose a price ceiling on pork, this time one that will cover the entire country, not just the National Capital Region (NCR).

The price ceiling imposed by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Metro Manila lapsed on Thursday (April 8).

The price of pork spiked since late last year due to the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) prompting the DA to implement a price ceiling of P270 to P350 pesos per kilogram of pork.

But now that the price ceiling has lapsed and there is no suggested retail price (SRP) on pork, prices are expected to shoot up to as high as P400 per kilogram.

Thus, the Manila Meat Dealers Association appeals to the DA to impose another price ceiling, if not in the entire country, at least in Luzon.

“Iyan lang po talaga ang nakikita naming paraan, magkaroon ng panibagong price ceiling sa buong bansa na o buong Luzon kasi nandito naman ang sentro ng ASF sa buong Luzon,” said Meat Dealers’ president Ricardo Chan.

“Kasi pumalpak ang price ceiling nila (dahil) NCR lang. Ngayon kung ipatutupad iyan sa kabuoan ng bansa eh siguradong bababa ang presyo ng baboy,” he added.

The group said that though there is enough supply of pork in local markets at present, manipulation in prices remains evident.

“Halos lahat ng palengke makikita mo naman bukas. Sa madalit sabi may baboy, nagsasamantala lang talaga itong mga hog raiser,” he said.

“Magtataka ka eh diba? Bakit ang daming baboy halos lahat ng palengke may baboy pero noong magkaroon ng price ceiling eh nawala yung baboy. Anu yun, nagtago? Ibig sabihin yung mga hog raiser ang nagko-control,” he said.

Chan added that they are in favor of having another price ceiling for both local and imported pork to ease the burden from consumers.

Also, imposing such a limit will help local hog raisers compete with imported pork, he stated.

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