BPI offers funding to hog raisers hit by ASF

Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has designed a credit facility that specifically targets to provide funding to commercial hog raisers who were affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF).  

In a statement, BPI said that as part of its Sustainable Development Finance (SDF) program, it offers financial products and technical assistance that will help hog raisers, especially those who own big herds, in improving their biosecurity protocols to avoid and control ASF and other diseases.

ASF, a fatal animal disease among swine, already resulted in the death and killing of nearly 500,000 hogs in the Philippines.

Experts warn that up to 750,000 sows could be affected if ASF continues to spread across the country, causing a supply shortfall and price hike, said Pig Improvement Company (PIC) Philippines General Manager Vino Borromeo.

Borromeo said the virus will remain in the country and continue to spread until an effective ASF vaccine arrives, and that attaining the supply level in 2019 may take at least 10 years.

Right now, hog raisers in the country face limited funding and resources for an effective control program and lack of incentives for voluntary reporting.

To be specific, hog raisers in ASF-hit areas receive an indemnity fund of P5,000 for each hog that they surrender to the Department of Agriculture (DA) for culling, which is one way to contain the spread of the virus in areas it hit.

For his part, BPI Head of Agribusiness Jun Ruba said there’s a need for hog raisers to invest in proper biosecurity.

“We’re all hoping that we can put more controls through the combined efforts of different agencies and members of the industry who can help find the solution,” he said.  

BPI SDF Head Jo Ann Eala said next-generation pig farmers who want to remain sustainable and profitable need to employ a holistic management approach, which includes modern hog raising technologies and practices as well as carefully designed risk management systems in their business model.

“Among the innovations implemented by the more resilient and successful farms are the tunnel-ventilated housing facilities as well as a biogas system. These innovations, which BPI SDF can help pig farmers set up, make pig farms not only more efficient and profitable, but also less prone to animal health risks and more resilient in extreme weather conditions,” said Eala.