Fastfood chains now buying Cebu pork

TO CATER to consumer demand, fastfood chains in Cebu are once again offering pork dishes.

Rolando Tambago, Central Visayas Pork Producers Cooperative (CeViPPCo) president, told SunStar Cebu that fastfood chains have started buying meat from Cebuano producers and suppliers.

“Cebu fastfood chains are shifting to local sources due to executive orders (EOs) of the Province of Cebu,” he said.

Chinese fastfood chain Chowking announced that its bestseller, Pork Chao Fan, was back on the menu since it became unavailable last October 2019.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia extended the ban on shipments of live hogs, pork, pork-related products, by-products and boar semen from Luzon to June 30, 2020.

The ban was supposed to be lifted on December 28, 2019 but it was extended after products from a meat processing company in Luzon tested positive of the African Swine Fever (ASF).

Fastfood chains initially tapped local semi-processor companies that also sourced their meat from big hog producers and backyard farmers in Cebu.

“The supply started last October. They engaged with us last September through talks but it was not easy for those fastfood chains due to specifications of exact pork cuts and parts but they are now getting from local sources,” Tambago said.

CeViPPCo reported a 20 percent drop in sales since September 2019, following the ASF scare.

“Sales were slow from September, October to November but it has picked up,” Tambago said.

After a province-wide information drive, Tambago said consumer confidence on pork has returned. Last month, sales were back to normal, he said.

However, Tambago said he doesn’t know how long this new arrangement will last since prior to the ban, fastfood chains in Central Visayas got their pork from Luzon.

In the latest situation update provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in the Philippines, 497 barangays in Luzon were affected and 136,770 pigs had to be killed, as of November 30, 2019.

“The Philippines has been implementing its 1-7-10 protocol to manage, contain and control the spread of the disease i.e. all pigs within one-kilometer radius of infected farms will be culled; limit animal movement and swine farms will be under strict surveillance and testing within a seven-kilometer radius; swine farms within a 10-kilometer radius will be required to submit a mandatory report on the disease,” FAO said in its website.

The Department of Agriculture Central Visayas, in an earlier interview, said they would introduce other livestock to farmers like goats, cows and chickens, among others, in case the ASF managed to infiltrate the region. (JOB)