CENTRAL Visayas will be one of the regions that will focus on hog repopulation and stricter quarantine measures following the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) recommendation to the Palace to put the Philippines under the African swine fever (ASF) state of emergency.
DA 7 Director Salvador Diputado said they are compiling the hog farmer groups and suppliers that will receive seed capital for hog repopulation.
“We are working on the list of intended beneficiaries so the hog repopulation program can start,” he told SunStar Cebu.
He said the agency is also beefing up support for sectors producing other protein sources like chicken, beef and fish aside from pork.
The DA on Thursday, March 18, 2021, formally recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte to put the country under the state of emergency due to the ASF.
According to the DA memorandum, ASF has already spread to 12 regions, 40 provinces, 466 cities and municipalities, and 2,425 barangays.
It said over “three million heads of pig have been lost due to the disease, causing a contraction in pork supply and an unprecedented increase in the price of basic agricultural commodities.”
The Philippines has 17 regions and 81 provinces.
Moreover, the declaration would “mandate and capacitate concerned government agencies, including the local government units to work together to prevent and control the further spread of ASF.”
In an earlier briefing, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the recommendation shall include a P1 billion contingency fund for indemnification and hog repopulation for ASF-affected farmers. It also asked local government units to set aside a budget to strengthen measures to control the spread of the ASF.
To support the local hog industry amid threats from the ASF outbreak, the Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) has launched a new lending program to assist hog raisers in sustaining and increasing pork production.
During the program launch and signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between Landbank and the DA at the DA-Bureau of Soils and Water Management Convention Hall in Quezon City on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, the state-run bank said it has earmarked P15 billion for the Special Window and Interim Support to Nurture Hog Enterprises (Swine) Lending Program.
The Landbank Swine Lending Program will be available for commercial hog raisers registered as cooperatives or farmers’ associations, small and medium enterprises and large enterprises or corporations.
“Landbank is supporting the DA by extending financing support to hog enterprises to sustain their operations and pork supply during this difficult time. Through the Landbank Swine Lending Program, we aim to respond to the recovery requirements of our hog industry and contribute to ensuring food security,” Landbank president and chief executive officer Cecilia Borromeo said.
Loans under the Landbank Swine Lending Program shall be used for swine production, which includes the acquisition or importation of semen or breeding animals; feed milling operations; the construction, improvement or retrofitting of necessary facilities that are compliant to biosecurity protocols of the DA, the industry or integrators; acquisition of fixed assets; and as working capital. (JOB)