GOV. Gwendolyn Garcia has imposed a six-month moratorium on the export of live hogs to other areas in the country.
On Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, 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 will take effect on 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.
“For the next six months, no trucks will be allowed to transport live hogs outside Cebu where the hogs will be sold. Because we can end up with a shortage of pork in the market. Prices will skyrocket. Worse, we’ll end up with no supply. So the moratorium will stand for six months until the market stabilizes,” the governor said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
Garcia said the slaughtering of pigs will still be allowed, provided the pig is either unproductive, sickly or can no longer reproduce.
“Ako, mas nahadlok ko sa ASF kay though they thought not saying it’s not harmful to humans but kanang foamites ba, kanang bacteria ana, mamilit pilit ana maka-hibernate pa gyud. Murag ma reactivate. Lisod kaayo pagpatay. You have to have 100 degrees heat pagpatay ana,” Garcia said.
(I’m more afraid of the ASF even though the disease is not harmful to humans. But there are things called fomites that can carry infection that will stick to objects and hibernate. Once they reactivate, they’re very hard to kill. You’ll need heat at 100 degrees Celsius.)
The Capitol initially issued an order on Jan. 15 which prohibited hog-carrying trucks from Luzon, Mindanao and Eastern Visayas from entering Cebu.
Only accredited truckers from Cebu were allowed to deliver live hogs to other provinces through drop-off points.
Cebu and the rest of Central Visayas continue to remain ASF-free.
The Central Visayas Pork Producers Cooperative (Cevippco) agreed with Garcia’s decision.
“We fully support our governor on this,” said Paul Holaysan, Cevippco president.
Holaysan had said that local pork supply was sufficient, but there was a need to control buyers from Luzon. If they continued to buy from pork producers in Cebu and in other areas in Central Visayas, the region’s supply would fall short by February.
He said Central Visayas, which consists of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor, has been supplying pork to Luzon where hundreds of thousands of pigs had to be culled to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease that is fatal to pigs and wild hogs.
Last year, pork prices climbed beyond P300 per kilo in Metro Manila due to the lack of supply in Luzon.
In Cebu City, the steep climb was observed recently by the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF).
Jennifer Laurente, DVMF head, said prices had gone up by P80 to P100 per kilo.
The average price of pork in the public markets used to be P160 per kilo, she said, but it’s now P280. In groceries, the increase is even higher, with some pork cuts selling for more than P300 per kilo.
The demand for pork in Cebu City remains high, while the supply has gone down because of the ASF.
Laurente said the city gets most of its pork from Danao City and other parts of Cebu Province.
It used to receive supply from Negros Island, but that stopped toward the end of December, she said, when suppliers opted to sell their products in Luzon where the prices are much higher. (ANV, JOB, JJL / JKV)