African swine fever outbreak spooks Phl pork-lovers

UNTV News   •   September 17, 2019   •   950

Reports of an outbreak of African Swine Fever in two provinces north of the Philippines capital Manila have caused a drop in the sales of pork meat and the country’s top delicacy roasted pig, sellers and shoppers said on Tuesday (September 17).

Roasted pork, locally known as “lechon”, sold in the heart of Manila, was slow to sell with only a handful being displayed in shops.

Lechon seller Minda Atim told Reuters that while it was the off-season for lechon sales, news of the African Swine Fever appearing in the Philippines further dampened the sales.

Some of the shopkeepers even displayed certificates from the pig suppliers about pigs being clear from any infections or diseases, but even that did not seem to help much.

Meanwhile, shoppers at meat markets said they were staying away from raw pork meat and opting for the relatively safer seafood and chicken instead. There was no significant change in the prices of pork in Manila.

African swine fever is highly contagious and nearly 100% fatal to swine herds.

It occurs among pigs and wild boars, transmitted by ticks and direct contact between animals. There is no vaccine for the disease, but it does not affect humans.

The first outbreak of African swine fever in East Asia was reported in China in early August 2018.

Since then, the deadly virus has spread to all Chinese provinces and regions, as well as to other Asian nations, including Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines. (REUTERS)

Phl inflation slows down in November — PSA

Maris Federez   •   December 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The inflation rate in the country slowed down in November, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported Tuesday (December 7).

The PSA said the country’s inflation “continued to exhibit a slower pace as it eased further to 4.2 percent in November 2021, from 4.6 percent in October 2021”.

The average inflation from January to November 2021 remained at 4.5 percent. Inflation in November 2020 was posted at 3.3 percent.

The reason behind the downtrend in the overall inflation in November 2021 was the slow movement in the price index of food and non-alcoholic beverages at 3.9 percent inflation.

“Ang dahilan ng pagbagal ng antas ng inflation nitong  Nobyembre 2021 ay ang mas mabagal na paggalaw ng presyo ng food and non-alcoholic beverages na may 3.9 % inflation at  93.2 % share sa pagbaba ng pangkalahatang inflation sa bansa,” PSA national statistician Dennis Claire Mapa said.

In addition, lower inflation was also recorded in the price of alcoholic beverages and tobacco at 7.5 percent, and furnishing, household equipment, and routine maintenance of the house at 2.4 percent.

A downward trend was also registered in the inflation for food index as it slowed down further to 4.1 percent in November 2021, from 5.6 percent in the previous month.

By specific food item, the annual growth rate of vegetables dropped by -1.8 percent during the month, after posting a double-digit annual increase of 11.4 percent in October 2021.

Moreover, annual increases in the indices of meat and fish, slid at 10.7 and 7.9 percent, respectively.

However, on a month-on-month basis, both meat and pork recorded positive inflation at 2.4 and 4.2 percent, respectively.

“Pork prices continuously went down month-on-month from July to early-October. This means that our policy to temporarily import pork has been effective. However, the uptick in prices in November shows that we need to further ease administrative requirements for the unloading and distribution of stocks to encourage more importation and help bring back pork prices to their pre-African Swine Fever level,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said.

On the other hand, the PSA also noted that non-food inflation slightly rose to 4.1 percent from 3.8 percent for the same period.

This was caused mainly by high international crude oil prices, which drove up transport inflation to 8.8 percent from 7.1 percent.

Slight increase in inflation was also reflected in housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels at 4.6 percent from 4.4 percent. —/mbmf

Local hog industry laments competition with low-priced imported pork

Marje Pelayo   •   August 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Local hog raisers are complaining about competing with imported pork in local markets that is considerably cheaper than their produce.

“Hindi po namin kaya ang presyo ng imported. As of now, if we follow the price of imported, all of us will lose money, not only here in Luzon but in Visayas and Mindanao,” said Chester Warren Tan, president of the National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc.

Tan said they are spending huge amounts of money on buying imported feeds for their hogs.

Based on data presented by Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo during the hearing in Congress on Tuesday (August 10), the price of frozen pork ranges from P220 to P250 per kilogram in supermarkets.

“All 84 stores within the National Capital Region are participating in the Presyong Resonable dapat all frozen meat,” Castelo said.

But based on the data gathered by the Department of Agriculture (DA) from local wet markets, the price of pork ranges from P320 to P360 per kilogram.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said, once imported meat gets into the local market, the price of pork is expected to drop.

“As volume comes sa supply augmentation nga natin out of the MAV plus, itong period hanggang October nga po ay merong naka-calibrate na 140,000 metric tons. If many of these will arrive slowly it will also impact the prices of local pork,” Dar explained.

This alarms local hog raisers.

“As local producers umaasa po kami sa fresh sa wet market. Kung ang gusto po ng Department of Agriculture na mangyari is to push sa wet market yung frozen product, ano ang mangyayari sa local producers? Ibig sabihin huminto na lamang kami,” said Tan.

But the DA said there are existing programs designed to help local hog raisers.

One is the agency’s repopulation program for hog raisers affected by the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) and the DA’s P42 billion loan program.

As of August 10, only 29 barangays still have active cases of ASF in the country which is a big improvement, according to the DA.

Meanwhile, a total of 468 municipalities have been declared ASF-free. Nevertheless, Dar said the problem is still here.

“I did not claim that wala ng problema sa ASF. Meron pa rin tayo. Lingering nga. Itong ASF has contributed so much in reducing the supply and inventory,” he said.

Thus, the DA Secretary is asking Congress to provide them an additional P6.6 billion funding  to help the local hog industry recover from the impact of ASF.

“Kasama of course ang Kongreso kasi kayo ang nag-approve. P1.5 billion lang. So will that be enough for repopulation? No. We need additional P6.6 billion this year,” Dar said. MNP (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

BAI sees drop in cases of African Swine Fever

Marje Pelayo   •   June 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) reported a total of 176 cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the country in the past month.

The number is lower than the 1,773 cases recorded in August 2020 at the beginning of the outbreak and in April 2021 when the agency logged 520 cases.

As of June 4, there are nine provinces with a total of 19 barangays that still have cases of ASF virus.

These are:
Leyte – 9
Ilocos Norte – 2
Northern Samar – 2
Abra – 1
Apayao – 1
Mountain Province – 1
Cagayan – 1
Eastern Samar – 1
Davao Occidental – 1

“Mahigit 300 (local government unit) na po yung walang reported cases ng ASF for a period ranging from 90 to 180 days ang more,” said Dr. Reildrin Morales, OIC, BAI.

BAI said that areas cleared of ASF may now start repopulating their hogs provided that they coordinate with their local veterinary office or they can visit directly to BAI offices.

Currently, there are 10 farms in Luzon that conducts clinical trial for a potential vaccines against ASF.

“Kung magiging maganda po yung performance nung tina-trial nating bakuna ang isa po sa direksyon natin ay mag mass vaccination tayo lalo na doon sa high risk areas,” Morales said.

As per BAI report, half the number of affected hog raisers have already been compensated which reached a total of P1.55 billion.

BAI projects that it will take about two to three years before the Philippines can finally take control of ASF, especially with the help of local government units.

By declaring a state of calamity due to ASF, the LGUs may now utilize their respective calamity fund for their response efforts against ASF. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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