While the Philippines has been doing its best to combat its burden with the global COVID-19 pandemic, helping the stricken until they recovered, and trying to prevent further infections until the vaccines come, the country has also been fighting another war for health, this time involving livestock for food especially pork. The African Swine Fever (ASF) has been one of the severe factors to impact hog-raising since 2019, causing prices of local pork to ramp up, leading to importation, and other related problems. Areas like Metro Manila find themselves relying on ASF-free regions for non-imported pork. It happens that one of these places is SOCCSKSARGEN.
A report by the Philippine Information Agency has it that a shipment of live hogs for pork arrived this past Tuesday, February 16, in Lucena City, Quezon on its way to pork-hungry Metro Manila. Said hogs were raised around South Cotabato, and shipped north via a Ro-Ro vessel that departed from GenSan on Valentine’s Day, February 14. Secretary William Dar of the Department of Agriculture (DA) was on hand to welcome the vital shipment of live hogs, totaling 1,350 heads and transported on 13 trucks.
This shipment is but the latest from South Cotabato, which for the most part has staved off ASF in its hog industry. Only last week, the Koronadal Valley Livestock Growers Cooperative was responsible for sending 26 tons of live hogs up north, again via GenSan. They arrived in port at Region IV-A Calabarzon due to it being another ASF “green zone,” ensuring that the hogs will be sent off to government-certified slaughterhouses and be sold in the National Capital Region at the pork price ceiling of P270 to P300 per kilo, according to EO 124. In this way pork prices are hoped to be reduced to reasonable rates while importation rates can be dialed down.
Sending South Cotabato and GenSan hogs to the nation’s capital has been part of the DA’s “whole-of-nation” initiatives to stabilize the pork supply and keep prices down. The pork situation in Metro Manila has been another unwelcome complication to current problems faced by the Philippines.
Image: Department of Agriculture website