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Davao City, Philippines

GenSan eyes more pork shipments to Metro Manila, other areas

December 17, 2020 - Thursday 8:12 PM by PNA

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GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Hog producers here are gearing up to increase their shipments to Metro Manila and other major markets to cope with the declining supplies due to the continuing outbreak of the African swine fever (ASF) in parts of the country.

Dr. Antonio Ephrem Marin, head of the City Veterinary Office, said Thursday said hog farms in the area have leveled up their operations to meet the target shipment of 15,000 to 20,000 heads every month to Metro Manila and Luzon.

He said the city is now considered as the number one supplier of hogs to these markets as more areas were hit by the ASF.

The hog industry in this city and nearby South Cotabato province, valued at around PHP30 billion, produces 25,000 to 30,000 heads of live animals a month.

The area’s commercial hog inventory is pegged at about 490,000 heads while those in backyard farms are estimated at 37,000 heads, making it among the top producers in the country.

Marin said the local government, in close coordination with the South Cotabato Swine Producers Association, has doubled its efforts to keep the city free from the disease and at the same time sustain the movement of live hogs and pork products to the markets.

“Since the (ASF outbreak) started in September 2019 as declared by DA (Department of Agriculture), our city has remained ASF-free and was able to maintain a high level of production,” he said in an interview.

He said top markets in Luzon have become increasingly dependent on hog supplies from the city as the outbreaks worsened these past months in Bulacan, Pampanga, and the Calabarzon area.

Marin said DA has been assisting hog raisers in the area, which is led by the South Cotabato Swine Producers Association, in increasing their shipments to Luzon and other areas.

He said the interventions include engagements with shipping companies, market matching, and storage.

“It’s really important for us to maintain our ASF-free status because of the supply situation and the survival of the hog industry here as well,” he said.

The city has sustained its high alert status against ASF since late last year and its borders remained on lockdown for live hogs and pork products from other areas, especially those with confirmed cases of the disease.

Around five tons of processed pork products and over 200 heads of live hogs were so far confiscated in the city’s entry checkpoints and eventually destroyed as part of the prevailing control measures against the ASF. Richelyn Gubalani