THE Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 has welcomed the move by Cebu Province to impose a six-month moratorium on the export of live hogs to other areas in the country, saying this will protect Central Visayas from a possible supply shortage.
DA 7 Director Salvador Diputado said the moratorium would also allow time for the repopulation of hogs in the region.
“We don’t have any shortage yet. That is precisely why Governor Garcia issued the executive order, so we can protect our local supply,” he said.
“The order is protecting our local consumers and at the same time our hog producers in the region will be able to repopulate. If there is increased buying activity, then they will be able to produce more,” Diputado explained.
Central Visayas Pork Producers Cooperative president Paul Holaysan also expressed his support for the export moratorium to help prevent any shortage situation.
On Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued Executive Order (EO) 8 prohibiting live hogs from being sold outside Cebu Province to protect the local P11 billion livestock industry from the ravages of the African swine fever (ASF), which has affected parts of Luzon, Mindanao and Eastern Visayas.
The new EO took effect Monday, Feb. 1. Garcia said she decided to issue the EO to prevent a possible shortage of pork products in Cebu.
She said the local demand for pork amounts to around 4,400 metric tons monthly, but local suppliers can supply only 2,270 metric tons.
Since the ASF hit the country in 2019, affecting areas in Luzon and some parts of Mindanao, Central Visayas has been supplying Luzon with its surplus hogs upon the request of Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
Diputado earlier said Central Visayas is 100 percent self-sufficient in pork production and it has 15 percent excess in production, which makes it viable for the region to supply the pork requirements of Metro Manila.
He said the region’s pork volume from January to December 2020 reached 140,066.88 metric tons.
Moreover, the DA 7 chief assured that prices of hogs and meat products in major public markets in Cebu remained within the normal price range.
Based on the latest DA 7 monitoring in Carbon and Pasil markets on Monday, pork ham (kasim) sells for P220 per kilo while pork liempo sells for P250 per kilo.
Price freeze in NCR
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte also on Monday approved a price cap of P270 per kilo for pork kasim and P300 for liempo in the National Capital Region for 60 days, Senator Bong Go said. The price freeze aims to curb the increasing prices of pork and chicken products.
Under EO 124, the price ceiling will remain in full force and effect for 60 days, unless extended by Duterte upon the recommendation of the DA.
The Office of the Executive Secretary said the price ceiling will not result in undue diminution of meat traders’ expected income considering that the reduction rates are not greater than 25 percent of the prevailing market price. Notably, the break-even point for selling pork is only around P105.
The National Agriculture and Fisheries Council (NAFC) also expressed its support for the price ceiling as reflected in a resolution. The NAFC resolution signified that the price ceiling bears the support of various stakeholders, including those from the private sector.
The imposition of a price ceiling seeks to ease the adverse impact of Covid-19 and ensure that pork and chicken remain affordable and accessible to the public and prevent unwarranted price manipulation.
In its Facebook post on Monday, the DA said the strategies to increase local hog production include repopulating of hogs in green zone areas, strengthening the Bantay ASF sa Barangay and providing a credit facility for hog raisers.
Dar also said the DA is now closely working with the Vietnam and United States Department of Agriculture authorities for the procurement of ASF vaccines. (JOB with PR)