PH gov’t and Thailand’s major food firm launch credit program for hog raisers

Published July 9, 2021, 12:51 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The Philippine government, in partnership with one of Thailand’s biggest agriculture and food conglomerates, has launched a credit program for local hog raisers affected by the dreaded animal disease African Swine Fever (ASF).

In a statement, the Department of Agriculture (DA), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), and Charoen Pokphand Foods Philippines Corporation (CP Foods), which is the Philippine subsidiary of an agro-industrial and food conglomerate in Thailand, recently launched the Swine Rehabilitation, Repopulation and Recovery Credit (Swine R3) program in Lipa City, Batangas.

The launch took place after six local government units (LGUs) in Batangas became the first ones to be granted ASF-free status in the country.

The Swine R3 program was developed by the DBP and CP Foods to support and elevate the national government’s efforts in reviving the local hog industry, including the implementation of DA’s Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (INSPIRE).

Swine R3 specifically aims to provide financing support to the local swine industry in responding to the country’s food requirements, finance the promotion of agribusiness for countryside development, and provide the facility for the agri-agra projects in compliance to the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act.

DBP Assistant Vice President Rallen Verdadero said there will be two lending schemes under Swine R3 program. The first scheme will target medium- and large-scale enterprises, which will be provided funding through a regular bank, while the second one will target small-scale enterprises, which may avail P500 million funding from DA.

“Local hog repopulation will lead the way in bringing back the industry because they have been badly battered in these almost two years of our fight against ASF,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.

CP Foods, on the other hand, committed to providing technical support and marketing assistance to hog raisers.

CP Foods General Manager Darwin Lictawa said that under their contract farming projects, farmers can earn at least P1,050 per pig in one cycle or have a gross annual income of P3 million in one farm/building with 1,300 heads, depending on the quality of their production.

Currently, the company has 10 breeder farms and 150 buildings of contract farms or fattening farms located in different parts of the country.

It was just on Thursday when DA announced that six areas in Batangas have already fully recovered from ASF, namely Lipa City, San Jose, Malvar, Rosario, Taysan, and Nasugbu.

Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Reildrin Morales said the declaration of ASF-free status is pursuant to the provisions stipulated under the DA Administrative Order numbers 6 and 7, series of 2021, providing guidance on control and prevention of ASF and repopulation of the previously affected areas.

“All these are guided by scientific procedures such as complete surveillance and monitoring and implementation of sentinelling program of DA. All these exercises have established scientifically the absence of virus in these municipal and city LGUs,” Morales said.

Dar then said that while the country has been fighting ASF for almost two years now, successful implementation of projects has contributed to the declining number of outbreaks.

As of July 5, reports submitted to the World Organization for Animal Health showed that ASF has so far spread to 12 regions, 50 provinces, 541 cities/municipalities, and 2836 barangays in the Philippines.