CEBU CITY – Pork supply in Central Visayas has remained stable as preventive measures to avert the entry of African swine fever (ASF) in the region have been strengthened, a regional agriculture official said on Saturday.
This became possible due to Cebu’s move to prohibit the export of live hogs and sows to other parts of the country for six months starting February 1, Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 (Central Visayas) Executive Director Salvador Diputado said.
The six-month prohibition aims to stabilize the market prices of pork and pork-related products, protect consumers, and enable hog producers to repopulate.
“This move will protect Central Visayas from a possible supply shortage,” Diputado told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview.
The Central Visayas Pork Producers' Cooperative earlier agreed to reduce pork prices to PHP170 or PHP180 per kg. from the PHP190 to PHP195 range.
A surge in the prices of pork meat in the local market was recently noted due to the huge demand for hogs from Luzon caused by the drop in supply due to ASF.
Some 39 provinces in the country have already been infected with the ASF virus.
Only Western Visayas and Central Visayas remain ASF-free.
Diputado said Central Visayas has strengthened measures, such as strict border controls, to prevent the entry of ASF in the region and protect its hog industry, estimated to be worth between PHP10 billion and PHP20 billion.
“We are actively coordinating our efforts with the local government units (LGUs) to ensure there is no letting up in our efforts to make sure the ASF won’t enter our region,” he said.
Diputado said they have advised provincial governments to establish barangay-based quick reaction teams tasked to contain the possible transmission of ASF.
“We need the cooperation of the public, along with the collective efforts of our LGUs,” he said.
Aside from enforcing stringent entry restrictions on live hogs, Diputado also raised the need to discourage the transport of processed meat into the region by travelers.
The DA-7 has also ordered the creation of a database on backyard hog raisers for monitoring and tracking purposes. (PNA)