Pork prices will remain high, industry group says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 15) — Consumers will still witness higher pork prices as market supply remains tight due to the African swine fever or ASF, an industry player said.

Rosendo So, president of Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, said buyers will have to cough up more money as the Department of Agriculture has yet to control the spread of ASF, subsequently affecting the inventory in the country.

"'Yung Mindanao ay tinamaan na rin ng ASF. Kung pumasok pa 'yan sa Visayas, babawas pa ang inventory sa bansa," he said during the Laging Handa briefing on Friday.

[Translation: Mindanao has already been hit by the ASF. Once it reaches Visayas, the country's inventory would decline.]

The DA has been banking on live hogs from the Visayas and Mindanao to address the spiking prices caused by low supply in Luzon.

So added that the inventory is affected since many hog raisers were cautious to continue investing because of the situation.

The United States Department of Agriculture last week said the country's pork production is unlikely to pick up this year as the ASF continues to dampen hog raisers' confidence.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that as of October 1, total swine inventory was estimated at 11.27 million head, 13.4 percent down from 2019.

As the government implements strict quarantine controls, the DA said the spread of ASF has been slowing down.

However, So stressed that the DA has to act on equipping the Philippines with strengthened border control versus the ASF, and other diseases.

"Ang solusyon ay 'yung borders entry para at least magkaroon ng peace of mind na mahinto. Hindi lang itong disease ang dapat bantayan," he said, noting that threats to poultry products, like chicken, remain so it is important to test imported products.

[Translation: The solution is to have borders entry (control) so producers will have peace of mind. We should not just focus on one disease.]