By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Thanks to African swine fever (ASF) and its negative effect on consumers’ perception towards pork, the country may actually see a surplus of pork, instead of shortage, in the coming months, officials of the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) said.
While the global forecast showed that there will be a shortage in the supply of pork, especially in Asia because of ASF, the country’s strongest agriculture lobby group, SINAG, doesn’t necessarily see the same trend happening for the Philippines.
“This year, we are overstocked by 110 percent,” SINAG said. “Our production in the second quarter even increased by 4.1 percent.”
This, while the group claims that they are now seeing lower pork consumption by 5 to 6 percent for this year, which will result to more surplus stocks.
ASF, a fatal animal disease affecting pigs and wild boars with up to 100 percent case fatality rate, can’t infect humans and is not considered a food safety risk, but a lot of groups including hog raisers and meat processors are now seeing lower pork sales due to the negative public perception towards ASF.
As of July, the country has a total hog population of 12.8 million, valued at P260 billion. Of this, 0.15 percent or 20,000 pigs have so far died or have been culled due to ASF.
Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI) Spokesperson Rex Agarrado said the government agencies like the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Health (DOH) should intensify their efforts to inform the public that pork is safe to eat.
He also thinks there’s a crucial need for these agencies, including Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), to come up with a centralized regulation on the transportation and trade of pork across the entire country amid efforts to contain ASF.