DA rallies local hog raisers to export pork

Emmanuel Piñol

Philippine local hog raisers were advised on Monday to produce more as the Department of Agriculture (DA) supposes a huge market for pork and pork products and mulls over the possibility of exporting this commodity amid the spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF).

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol told in a brief moment of the DA’s launching of Metrowide Mango Marketing Program, “I would like to appeal to our hog raisers to produce more because there will be a great market for pork and pork products this year.”

Noting that as the Philippines’ neighboring countries, including China, had greatly increased their pork importation following the spread of the deadly ASF, a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease of domestic and wild pigs of all ages.

The numerous outbreaks and quick spread of ASF in China has led to the spread of the virus among Asian nations including Hong Kong, Vietnam and Cambodia. Other countries affected by the ASF are Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, South Africa and Zambia.

The virus has no effective preventive vaccines or cures, and the mortality rate is as high as 100 percent, according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

“I see this as an opportunity for our farmers to increase their production. This is a window of opportunity for us. In fact, I would see this as a turning point for our hog industry. In fact, I’m looking at exporting. This could be our chance now,” Piñol stated.

“We are not rejoicing that our neighbors are suffering because of ASF but that’s life. We take advantage of this opportunity and we will assume the role of a major producer of pork and pork products in this region,” he added.

Piñol said earlier that the DA was projecting a gush in local production of hogs despite the threats posed by the dreaded ASF. In response, the Department of Finance (DOF) has recently approved the DA’s proposal to plant an additional 100,000 hectares to sorghum and another 100,000 hectares to corn to support the growth in the country’s hog sector.

“Once we increase our production of grains—yellow corn and sorghum—and supply our hog raisers, they could actually compete. We can actually increase our production,” Piñol concluded.

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