MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it is planning to transport surplus pork products in Mindanao to Visayas and Luzon to help stabilize the supply and prices of pork in Metro Manila and other areas.
In a statement, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said they are looking at an initial volume of 1,700 metric tons (MT) of pork from Davao and General Santos City that are available for immediate transport to Visayas and Luzon.
Dar said they are now coordinating with hog raisers in Mindanao regarding the matter.
“This is a welcome development as relayed by DA Undersecretary Evelyn Laviña, who was tasked to coordinate with hog raisers and logistics providers in Mindanao to bring surplus pork to where it is most needed in Metro Manila and other areas in Luzon and Visayas,” the DA chief said.
Laviña said hog raisers in Davao have committed to ship their surplus pork at 500 MT a month, while those in General Santos and Cagayan de Oro could ship 3,000 MT monthly.
“However, we are confronted with a few challenges in transporting frozen pork, including other food and fishery products, from Mindanao to Visayas and Luzon, but we are addressing them swiftly in direct consultation with concerned local government units,” Dar said.
The DA chief did not specify the challenges he mentioned but he emphasized the agency’s advocacy for the unhampered movement of pork due to the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.
He also assured that pork products from Mindanao are of good quality and are free from African Swine Fever (ASF).
“We continue to strictly enforce the biosecurity and quarantine measures to effectively manage, contain and control ASF, and prevent it from spreading to Visayas and Mindanao that are free from the dreaded swine disease,” Dar said.
The DA chief likewise reiterated that the country has enough supply of pork for the second and third quarters of 2020.
However, the country is forecasted to have a pork deficit by the end of the year.
“Right now our pork sufficiency is 93 percent, as we forecast a deficit by the end of the year, at 31 days,” he said.
“In lieu of pork, we enjoin consumers to shift to other protein sources like chicken, as we have an abundant supply of up to 233 days or till August 2021,” Dar said.
He also called on local government units in Luzon to consider buying chicken and eggs, and other produce to help local farmers, fishers, and poultry raisers.
“Now, more than ever, is the time to help farmers and fishers by buying directly from them, and selling their produce — like palay, corn, vegetables, fruits, hogs and chickens, and fish, among others — at affordable prices to consumers through regular outlets like Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita,” he said.