Gov’t may subsidize ASF vaccine
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is looking to subsidize hog raisers’ purchase of vaccines against African swine fever (ASF), which industry stakeholders consider as a welcome development.
In an interview on Monday, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Rex Estoperez said the DA and the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) have started talks on potential financial assistance for hog raisers.
Options include realigning the budget from other agencies under the DA and turning to Congress for additional budget.
“Now, on the government subsidy, we have already discussed this with the Bureau of Animal Industry and we may need to seek the help of our legislators for an additional budget,” Estoperez, also the DA’s deputy spokesperson, told reporters.
The DA has yet to determine the amount of cash aid for swine producers pending the final pricing of the ASF vaccine.
“We are looking at the budget of other agencies, especially the BAI, to determine whether we need to supplement, realign or request for an additional budget,” he said.
As suggested by some legislators and groups of hog raisers, the DA has also recommended tapping the calamity fund or quick response fund for agricultural producers.
“If we need to declare a state of calamity, we must be able to justify it to our President [Marcos] and [agriculture] secretary. We also need to be transparent to him,” he added.
Estoperez, however, said the BAI had not yet recommended such option of declaring a state of calamity.
“Providing ASF vaccine subsidy by the DA is a welcome news if it is really true but habang wala pa yan (subsidy) hindi po tayo naniniwala (while it is not available, we don’t believe it)!” said Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines Inc. president Rolando Tambago.
National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. president Chester Warren Tan said, “Whether it will be affordable or not, [it is] better with subsidies, maybe from the quick response fund or calamity fund.” INQ