The African Swine Fever (ASF) already resulted in billions of losses to the local hog industry since it was first detected here in 2019, but local hog raisers are yet to see sincere and effective rehabilitation efforts on the part of the government.

In a statement, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said the Department of Agriculture (DA) has remained “insincere” when it comes to addressing the ASF issue.

KMP’s accusation towards DA is based on the latter’s proposals to increase the country’s pork importation through higher minimum access volume (MAV) allocation and lower tariff.

Instead of this, KMP said Congress must earmark at least P5 billion for the rehabilitation of the local hog and chicken industries.

“It is more than obvious now that the DA’s rehabilitation of the hog industry is only for show. Its ultimate objective is to deluge the local market with imported pork at the expense of local hog raisers, farmers, and consumers,” KMP Chairperson Rafael Mariano said.

“Over importation will seal the coffin of the dying domestic hog industry that has registered more than P56-billion in losses since ASF struck. Malacanang must stop using food security and pork supply stabilization as excuses to implement excessive pork importation,” he added.  

Post-Holy Week, consumers have noticed an average of P30 to 40 per kilogram (/kg) increase for kasim and liempo, or almost P400/kg in many markets in Metro Manila and nearby areas. 

This is despite the enforced price ceiling of P270 per kilo for kasim and P300 per kilo for liempo. The 60-

day price ceiling imposed by the DA will end tomorrow, April 8.  

Based on KMP’s estimates, increasing the MAV for pork imports by 350,000 MT from the current 54,210 MT to 404,210 MT is equivalent to a staggering 645 percent hike.

Except for chicken, duck, and lamb, all other meat imports including pork, increased for the first quarter this year or a 21-percent increase or equivalent to 243,108.89 MT. 

Pork imports for the first quarter of the year totaled 110,419.40 MT or an increase of 150.7 percent from the same period last year.

It was in early March when Malacanang said President Duterte ordered Congress to approve the expansion of MAV allocation for pork imports.

At the same time, the economic cluster is pushing for the reduction in quota tariffs for pork imports from 30 percent to 5 percent. 

KMP said the MAV increase and pork import tariff reduction are “double-whammy” to the hog industry, while other industry groups said they will end up “double dead” once these proposals are carried.

In lieu of increasing the MAV, livestock stakeholders are asking the government to stop the over-importation of pork products; provide sufficient aid and economic relief for ASF-affected hog raisers; distribute production subsidies worth P15,000 for farmers and food producers; among others.

As this happens, Agriculture Secretary William Dar announced that the DA, through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), is increasing its indemnity for hogs culled due to ASF. 

“Through the PCIC insurance program, we are doubling the indemnification payout for every pig that contracts ASF from P5,000 to P10,000. With the increased indemnity, hog raisers are encouraged to report affected pigs, thus controlling the ASF from spreading,” the DA chief said.

PCIC President Jovy Bernabe explained that the swine insurance program is a relaxed version of the agency’s regular livestock insurance program, offering free premium payments for backyard raisers and discounted premium for commercial hog raisers, and increased indemnity payments for culled hogs.

For backyard swine raisers, the subsidy will be 100 percent of the premium cost, provided they are listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), while for commercial swine raisers, the premium subsidy will be discounted.

For backyard farmers, PCIC provides 1.75 percent premium for fatteners and 3.5 percent for breeders, which are waived as free. Commercial farmers pay the same premium rates, discounted from the regular rates of 2.25 percent and 4 percent, for their stocks to be covered.

Bernabe added that the insurance covers P10,000 per head for fatteners, P14,500 per head for breeders, and P34,000 per head for parent stocks.

Source: Manila Bulletin (