By MADELAINE B. MIRAFLOR
The Philippines produced less hogs in the last three months of 2019 as the deadly swine disease African swine fever (ASF) continued to kill more hogs in Central Luzon.
With the ASF scare, the country’s chicken output is catching up as the demand for what is considered the “best substitute for protein” increased.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that from October to December 2019, hog production stood at 597,510 metric tons (MT), liveweight.
This was 9.8 percent lower than the 2018 output of 662,730 MT, liveweight.
Relative to their 2018 production levels, seven regions reported decreases in production during the period.
Central Luzon, which was hit by ASF, reported the highest decline in production, falling by 38.1 percent from 156,940 MT, liveweight in 2018 to 97,220 MT, liveweight in 2019.
Among the regions, CALABARZON was the highest producer of hogs at 103,100 MT, liveweight. This was followed by Central Luzon and Northern Mindanao. Combined, these three regions accounted for 43.1 percent of the country’s total hog production.
As of January 2020, the total swine inventory was estimated at 12.80 million heads. This was 0.7 percent higher compared with its previous year’s stocks of 12.71 million heads.
Population of swine in backyard farms at 7.97 million heads contracted by 2.4 percent, from 8.17 million heads in 2019 to 7.97 million heads in 2020. On the other hand, stocks in commercial farms at 4.82 million heads expanded by 6.2 percent from the previous year’s level of 4.54 million heads.
Among the regions, Central Luzon still recorded the highest swine inventory of 2.16 million heads. This was followed by CALABARZON and Western Visayas with stocks of 1.58 million heads and 1.22 million heads, respectively. These three regions contributed 38.7 percent to the country’s total swine inventory.
The number of pigs that were culled and died due to ASF already rose from 70,000 some time in October to more or less 180,000 as of this month, latest report from the Department of Agriculture (DA) showed.
Dar said the estimated losses that the local hog industry has incurred due to ASF already rose to ₱4 billion since August.
While not dangerous to humans, ASF is highly contagious and can causes up to 100 percent fatality in pigs.
The disease was first detected in the country in August when a high mortality on pigs were recorded in Rodriquez, Rizal.
Other areas affected as of now are Bulacan, Pampanga, Antipolo City, Cavite, Caloocan, among others.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, the average farmgate price of hogs upgraded for slaughter was ₱98.70 per kilogram, liveweight. This was 13.9 percent lower than the previous year’s price level of ₱114.70 per kilogram, liveweight.
Meanwhile, the country was able to produce more chicken during the last three months of 2019.
A separate data from the PSA showed that from October to December 2019 total chicken production rose by 4.1 percent to 526,100 MT, liveweight, from the 2018 output of 505,240 MT, liveweight.
In September last year, with ASF seen reducing the supply of pork in Asia, USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) Representative Garrett Borkhuis said people may soon find themselves looking for a “substitute for protein”. For Filipinos, that would be chicken.
“Poultry is the new king,” Borkhuis said in an earlier report.
Relative to their levels in 2018, 12 regions in the Philippines registered increases in chicken production during the period. In terms of growth rate, Central Luzon posted the highest growth of 8.5 percent, from 174,620 MT, liveweight in 2018 to 189,390 MT, liveweight in 2019.