The government is mulling the possibility of providing a 50 percent insurance subsidy for commercial hog raisers in a bid to boost their confidence in meeting the demand for pork supply in the country.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles acknowledged in his virtual presser on Tuesday, Feb. 23, the importance of supporting hog raisers to address the lack of pork supply in the local market.
“One proposal being studied is an insurance subsidy of 50 percent for commercial hog raisers that will utilize the quick response fund under the QRF (quick response fund) of the Department of Agriculture. This is just one initiative being considered to help our hog farmers increase supplies,” he said.
The government QRF is a built-in budgetary allocation that represents pre-disaster or standby funds for agencies to allow them to assist sectors and areas that are hit by calamities and crisis. Aside from the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown last year, the hog industry has also been affected by the African swine flu (ASF) that contaminated hundreds of thousands of pigs since 2019.
Although ASF does not transmit to humans, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) does not authorize the processing, purchase, and consumption of meat products with ASF.
Earlier, Senator Francis Pangilinan pushed for insurers to provide protection to hog raisers “so that they can bet” and “somehow, they can recover.”
The prices of kasim, pige, and liempo started increasing in October last year. As of February 1, the national average farm gate price of hogs is at P171 per kilo, but can go as low as P132 per kilo and as high as P244 per kilo in some regions.
Once it reaches public markets and grocery stores, a kilo of pork can go as high as P380 to P400.
To stifle the prices, President Duterte earlier set a 60-day freeze on the prices of pork and chicken, but this has been met with ire by local producers. Executive Order No. 124, which the President signed on February 1, set the price ceilings to P270 per kilo for kasim and pigue, P300 per kilo for liempo, and P160 per kilo for dressed chicken.
But hog raisers and vendors decried the price ceiling, going so far as to start a pork holiday in some markets in Metro Manila.