VP Leni can help livestock sector get back on its feet, bring meat and pork prices down’
Hog raisers belonging to the National Federation of Hog Farmers, Inc. (NFHFI) are hopeful that VP Leni Robredo is capable of helping the local livestock sector get back on its feet.
The NFHI made the statement as the Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, that meat prices remained elevated in November. Data from the agency showed that meat inflation reached 10.7 percent, while pork inflation hit 17.3 percent.
From P200 plus per kilo last year, Department of Agriculture data shows that retail prices of meat and pork products are now in between P330 to P360 per kilo range.
“We can see her sincerity in all her projects. Her reputation as a woman of conviction and action is well known. We believe that if she promises to help the sector, then she will make sure she fulfills her promise,” NFHFI said.
In a letter to the vice president, NFHFI said hog raisers continue to grapple with African Swine Fever (ASF), a fatal hog disease, which has decimated their herds.
“The losses to the Philippine hog population due to ASF were estimated by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) at 30%,” NFHFI said.
“Still without an ASF vaccine for the next few years, the industry needs concrete measures to mitigate and reduce the risks of infection and needs incentives to encourage swine farmers to repopulate,” it added.
Even before the livestock sector was hit by ASF, NFHFI said hog and poultry growers received little support from the government. The group noted that the rice industry usually corners a chunk of the Department of Agriculture’s annual budget.
“The livestock sector before ASF has always been one of the best performers and has always contributed to the agriculture sector’s positive growth. When ASF hit, the industry was left on its own, with very little financial support,” NFHFI said.
“Instead of helping the sector repopulate, the Department of Agriculture and the economic team used inflation as a reason to approve massive importation at lowered tariffs to bring down the prices of pork,” it added.
Data on the performance of Philippine agriculture in January to September released by the PSA indicated that the livestock subsector was the worst performer during the period. Its output plunged by nearly 20%, with hog production falling by nearly 18%. The poor performance of the livestock subsector pulled down total farm production, which declined by 2.5%.
NFHFI said the country is badly in need of a leader who will implement the necessary reforms that will help Filipino farmers adapt to climate change, cope with the rising cost of inputs, and fight pests and animal diseases. ###