The Department of Agriculture would roll out P400 million for the repopulation of hogs in the country to mitigate the impact of the African swine fever (ASF).
In a virtual briefing, Reildrin Morales, executive director of the DA’s National Meat Inspection Service, said that under the program dubbed the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (Inspire), they would distribute mother pigs as well as feeds to areas that are now cleared of the ASF.
“Through Inspire, we will distribute mother pigs to raisers in areas that are already cleared of ASF to increase our supply of pork meat in the market. We will also provide the feeding to guarantee that the pigs will not be fed with swill,” he said in vernacular, adding that they will announce the list of areas that would benefit from the aid in the coming weeks.
The initiative would be implemented under the DA’s National Livestock Program.
Inspire intends to speed up the recovery of the hog sector and ensure the availability, accessibility, and affordability of pork and pork products.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar has a standing order for Morales, who will assume as officer in charge-director of the Bureau of Animal Industry on Feb. 7, to elevate the measures in combating the adverse effects of ASF in the country.
Dar planned out the intervention to involve the establishment of swine multiplier farms through clustering or village-level approach composed of 20 hog farmers each.
He said that through its livestock program, the DA will provide every member with five piglets each, 20 bags of animal feed, and biologics. Each cluster with 20 members will have a total of 100 piglets to raise.
Dar said the clustering strategy will be implemented initially in ASF-affected areas as part of the DA’s enhanced hog production stimulus package.
“This is to jumpstart the economic and income-generating activities in the livestock sector, particularly in some parts of Central Luzon and Calabarzon, where ASF was prevalent last year,” Dar said.
Meanwhile, Morales has noted that the low supply of pork and pork products are not due to the increase of ASF cases.
“Some hog raisers have lessened the number of hogs they are supposed to raise to avoid business loss with the threat of ASF,” he added.
He also said they are going to increase the shipments of pork and pork products to Luzon to meet the demand.
“Luzon is the biggest consuming island of pork meat. Some 19,937.44 metric tons of our inventory is in Luzon. We will increase shipments from Visayas and Mindanao,” Morales said.
Based on the Dec. 28, 2020 to Jan. 3, 2021 data from the Frozen Pork Inventory report of DA, the total inventory from the Visayas was 5,691 MT and 149.54 MT in Mindanao. Luzon has the highest frozen pork inventory for both local (3,500.71 MT) and imported (16,436.73 MT) data.*PNA