TO HELP augment the dwindling pork supply in Luzon due to the African swine fever (ASF), Virgina Farms Inc. has been shipping prime live hogs and frozen carcasses this month.
Virginia Farms Inc. president Rolando Tambago said the opportunity to support pork producers in Luzon came timely since Cebu currently has a huge surplus of both live hogs and meat since the market demand has slowed down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We see this as both beneficial to Luzon and Cebu. We are willing to support Luzon with its shortage as long as we have enough here until the market in Cebu normalizes,” he said.
The company has initially shipped 1,600 prime live hogs to Luzon and has received more orders for live hogs and frozen carcasses.
Tambago said Cebu’s local pork consumption has decreased since March at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and has not returned to its normal level since.
He said local players are expecting the demand to start improving by December.
Bureau of Animal Industry Director Ronnie Domingo welcomed the development, saying it’s great news for Metro Manila, especially that the “ber” months are here and that pork demand is expected to increase.
Agriculture Undersecretary for Livestock William Medrano forecasted a 45-day deficit in the local pork supply at the end of the year.
Latest available data by the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that total hog production from April to June 2020 was estimated at 550.02 thousand metric tons, liveweight. This was 5.2 percent lower compared with the previous year’s same quarter output of 580.11 thousand metric tons, liveweight.
Among regions, Central Luzon was the top producer of hogs during the quarter with 104.43 thousand metric tons, liveweight.
This was followed by Calabarzon with 87.90 thousand metric tons, liveweight, and Northern Mindanao with 50.85 thousand metric tons, liveweight. These three regions accounted for 44.2 percent of the country’s total hog production.
Relative to their levels in the same quarter a year ago, 12 regions reported decreases in production during the period with Bicol Region exhibiting the highest annual decline of 16.2 percent. This region recorded a production of 27.35 thousand metric tons, liveweight, this quarter, from 32.65 thousand metric tons, liveweight, in the second quarter of the previous year.
Meanwhile, Tambago who is also the immediate past president of the Central Visayas Pork Producers Cooperative, reiterated the importance of keeping Cebu ASF-free.
“Cebu is the fourth largest pork producing province in the country with a local hog industry valued at P11 billion. The farmers here produce 53,890 metric tons of pork annually and with major producers in Luzon and Mindanao already affected by ASF, it is important that we protect Cebu, it being the remaining major producer of pork with no ASF cases in the country,” he said. (KOC)