Relaxed payment conditions for ASF-hit hog raisers seen

Published February 25, 2021, 10:59 AM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

It will soon be easier for local hog raisers who are insured at the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) to claim insurance or indemnification after being hit by the dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF).

Photo by MA Albert Estoya.

This, after the PCIC Board of Directors approved the proposal of its parent agency, the Department of Agriculture (DA), to relax its conditions on the payment for hog raisers’ losses as well as cover future hog raising activities.

The DA has proposed that PCIC pay the losses resulting from government-ordered culling or slaughter of insured hogs and raise the payable amount up to 100 percent of the insurance cover or the total sum insured.  

Agriculture Secretary William Dar described this as part of the agency’s “bold policy actions” amid the persistence of ASF, a fatal animal disease among hogs that already resulted in the death and culling of around 500,000 hogs nationwide.

The PCIC’s move is also expected to help encourage the raising of over 10 million head of swine among commercial and backyard raisers.

The stocks to be insured will be a mix of fatteners and breeders, including grandparent stock, among the former, and fatteners and breeders, among the latter, DA said.

Backyard hog raisers currently receive free insurance, provided they are listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), the country’s database of bona fide subsistence farmers and fisherfolk.  

The PCIC Board already ordered the agency to increase the number of backyard hog raisers to be provided insurance coverage.

DA said these enhanced insurance policy features for hogs will remain in place until such time that the industry shall have stabilized or a vaccine or other veterinary solutions will have been developed for ASF.  

Consistent with the DA policy on biosafety, the PCIC will require commercial and backyard raisers to adhere to prescribed biosafety protocols. 

These include cleaning, disinfecting, and training in biosafety measures as contained in the DA Administrative Order No. 6, issued on February 6, 2021, entitled “Guidelines on the Implementation of the Recovery, Rehabilitation and Repopulation Assistance Program for ASF-affected and Non-ASF Affected Areas.”

PCIC is the sole agricultural insurance firm in the country. It will mark its 40th year of operation this year.

Meanwhile, DA is continuously beefing up efforts to help normalize pork prices in Metro Manila and nearby areas.

These efforts include the continuous subsidized shipment of hogs from areas in the country that were less hit by ASF, while the agency’s two proposals to lower tariff on pork imports and increase the Minimum Access Volume (MAV) allocation the same farm commodity are still pending.

As of Wednesday, a total of 7,042 live hogs and 46,531 kilograms of carcasses were delivered from various regions to Metro Manila.

Majority of the shipment consists of the 3,294 hogs from Western Visayas shipped via MV Ocean Excellence that were supposedly transported last February 20, 2021 but was rescheduled due to typhoon Auring.