USDA sees PH hog production slump of 10% as ASF troubles linger
The persistence of African swine fever (ASF) in farms is projected to further trim the country’s hog production this year by 10 percent while pork imports are expected to reach a record-high to augment the lack of supplies, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
From last year’s production of 1.11 million metric tons (MT) at carcass weight equivalent, USDA said output could shrink further to 1 million MT this year.
In 2019, when the Philippines recorded its first ASF case, production was at 1.59 million MT.
“ASF remains a challenge to the Philippine hog sector, especially in the key producing provinces of Luzon while also spreading to previously ASF-free areas of Visayas and Mindanao,” USDA said.
Decline in cases
It added that while the Department of Agriculture has reported a decline in active ASF cases, “many parts of the country remain categorized as infected.”“As some attempts to repopulate are being made, producers have generally remained cautious absent a commercially available vaccine, which remains in trial,” the organization further said.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed pork production for the first quarter this year dipped by 25.8 percent.
In the regions of Central Luzon and Calabarzon, historically the nation’s top pork producers, output plunged by 76 percent and 50 percent, respectively.With the decline in local output, the USDA also forecasted a significant increase in pork imports. Traders were recently incentivized by the government to ramp up their import purchases.
Tariff cut on pork imports
President Duterte’s Executive Order Nos. 128 and 134 cut the tariffs slapped on pork imports to a low of 10 percent from a high of 40 percent, and raised the import ceiling that may be imposed with lower tariffs by 200,000 MT from the current 54,210 MT.
As it stands, foreign pork supplies in accredited cold-storage warehouses as of April have reached 195,300 MT, up 400 percent from year-ago levels. USDA is expecting the country’s pork imports to rise to 425,000 MT from last year’s record of 167,000 MT.
Prices of pork in markets are expected to stabilize with the deluge of more supplies. Prices currently remain near all-time highs.
Bureau of Animal Industry Director Reildrin Morales said the total elimination of the viral hog disease still remained uncertain.
Currently, hog repopulation efforts have begun in six areas in Batangas province that were already conferred an ASF-free status.
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