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Growing production, dropping prices?

The poultry and swine sectors are finally expected to sustain positive growth in the succeeding quarters with cases of animal diseases in the country on a downward trend.

“We’re seeing [positive growth] because the livestock and poultry subsectors are continuously recovering,” said Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa, adding that few areas were reporting cases of the African swine fever (ASF) that wreaked havoc on the hog industry for years before government managed to put the outbreak under control.

He said, however, that the threat was still around and “we still need to pursue our efforts toward battling ASF.”

The country launched its campaign against the highly contagious ASF following an outbreak way back in 2019. More than 3,000 heads of swine were culled as authorities rushed to contain the virus. The outbreak substantially cut the country’s swine production by about 3 million heads, which led to over P100 billion in local industry losses and spikes in retail prices of pork products.

Since then, from 14 regions, only five now have active ASF cases, based on the Bureau of Animal Industry’s latest report.

The DA has earmarked P4.1 billion for hog repopulation and another P1.2 billion to eradicate animal disease. Next year’s funding for anti-ASF efforts are expected to be bigger.

Another threat that the DA had to manage is avian influenza. BAI Assistant Director Jonathan Sabiniano had said the battle against the highly pathogenic avian influenza is already at its tail end and the country could be bird flu free within the year. The DA, through the NLP, has released P27.5 million to the BAI to control and prevent the spread of the disease.

The Philippine Statistics Authority had reported that livestock output in the second quarter climbed by 2.1 percent. This is an improvement compared to the 1 percent decrease in the first quarter and a 19.3 percent decline in the same period a year ago. Poultry output also enjoyed continued growth.

The Filipino people who have been suffering from high prices, including that of pork and chicken, are hoping the DA and their government can continue to improve the supply situation and hopefully bring down prices, which remain elevated, further. Let us wish the officials responsible the best of luck as they face this challenge.*

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September 2022
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