CENTRAL Visayas Agriculture Director Salvador Diputado said they still have to conduct a study on the commercial viability of rabbit meat in the region as an alternative to pork.
An official of the Central Visayas Pork Producers Cooperative (CVIPPCO) said Cebu has enough supply of pork.
CVIPPCO president Roland Tambago said 80 percent of the pork supply in Cebu has been sourced from local hog raisers.
Only 20 percent had been sourced from General Santos City before the Mindanao pork ban took effect on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, said Tambago.
No price increase
The CVIPPCO and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 assured the public that there will be no price increase in all pork products.
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said she was told by DTI 7 Director Asteria Caberte that the prices of pork products in Cebu and other parts of Central Visayas were stable on Feb. 3-6.
No love for rabbit meat
As most Cebuanos are not known as rabbit meat eaters, Diputado told SunStar Cebu on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, it is a “type of animal” that a person can “fall in love easily” with as it is cute.
However, Diputado said rabbit meat is a good dish as it contains nutrients.
“I heard their meat is really nutritious and rich in protein and other vitamins,” he said.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said rabbit meat is the best alternative pork as the government still struggle to contain the African swine fever (ASF) that has been affecting the country’s hog industry.
He said the Department of Agriculture is supportive of the rabbit meat industry, abs-cbn.com reported. Rabbits, he said, reproduce fast and the meat is cheaper than other meat products in the market.
Dar, however, the poultry products are still the DA’s top priority as an alternative to pork.
The ASF has resulted in the death and culling of more than 200,000 pigs. However, Dar said the number is only 1.7 percent of 12.80 million hogs in the country.
In Cebu, architect Daryl Garcia and her husband Jose opened a food joint that sells rabbit meat cooked in traditional food dishes like lechon.
The couple’s Bunnychon is located at the Market in Mandaue City. Their rabbit farm is in Calubian, Leyte.
A rabbit meat is well known for its high protein content. A three ounce serving of rabbit meat is said to contain 28 grams of protein, more than beef or chicken.
The rabbit meat is also a good source of concentrated iron. A serving contains more than four milligrams (mg). It also provides a wide range of minerals—the highest levels include 204 mg of phosphorous and 292 mg of potassium.
The calories in rabbit meat are low. A serving contains only 147 calories.
Mindanao pork ban
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued an executive order banning the entry of live hogs, pork-related products, byproducts and commingled food products from the entire island of Mindanao. The order took effect last Thursday, Feb. 13, and it will last for 90 days.
Garcia had also issued similar executive orders for pork products coming from Luzon and Eastern Visayas. Her move aims to protect the P11-billion hog industry in Cebu.
As ASF has reached Benguet in northern Luzon, the governor said she could consider extending the ban beyond June 30, 2020—the end of Luzon pork ban. (JOB & ANV / KAL)