The entry of live pigs into Palawan will help to repopulate the quality breeds raised by farmers and increase meat quality in the local market, the local hog raisers group said, in anticipation of the temporary lifting of the total ban.
The Palawan Swine Producers Association (PSPA) will import around 43 to 45 heads of live pigs from Iloilo, which aims to help the repopulation program in Palawan. The PSPA is financed by the Department of Agriculture-MIMAROPA through a P2.5 million grant.
Ariel Colongon, PSPA consultant, said that Iloilo will be the source of breeders as it is the nearest province free from African Swine Fever (ASF). The group will order parent stock of hogs of Duroc, Landrace, and Large White to ensure the repopulation of pure breeds in Palawan.
“Ang first impact niyan ay makaka-produce tayo ng bagong breeder, mabigyan ng opportunity ‘yong local backyard raiser na maka-avail ng bagong breed. Secondly, upon availment of that new breed, makaka-produce na ‘yong backyard at local raisers na good quality slaughter pig, na ‘di masyadong mahaba ang panahon sa pag-aalaga,” he said.
The province of Palawan implemented a total ban on the entry of live pigs in 2020 under Executive Order No. 42 to protect the province against the entry of ASF. It also includes the ban on pork meat and pork meat-based products, which was temporarily lifted in April 2022 to meet the demands of tourists and establishments.
Dr. Darius Mangcucang of the Provincial Veterinary Office (ProVet) said that aside from PSPA, the local government unit of San Vicente also expressed its interest in importing 20 heads of live pigs. Once the two importers have completed the needed documents and settled concerns, ProVet will suggest a partial opening of importation in Palawan.
“Kapag makumpleto nila ang mga requirement, ipapa-open natin ang executive order na total ban sa live pigs kasi naka-total tayo sa live. Kapag in-open natin ‘yon signed ng ating governor, pwede na ipasok pero meron tayong susundin na health protocol,” he said.
ProVet will send a veterinarian to the source farm of live pigs for the selection and ensure testing against ASF and other diseases. The representative of importers will join in shipping to avoid swapping during the transport.
The live pigs will undergo one month of quarantine upon arrival in Palawan to observe and conduct another test for ASF. Pigs will be sent to farms if their results are negative after the period of quarantine.
“Kapag naka-infuse na tayo ng baboy, nakapagpadala na tayo rito, ibabalik natin uli ( sa total ban status). Kasi hindi natin pwede panatilihin na open– kung may iba pa na mag-apply sa amin (for importation) basta susundin nila lahat ng requirements. At saka ang pagkukunan ay kami ang magrirekomenda,” he said.
The areas recommended by ProVet as sources for importation are Bacolod, Iloilo, and Cebu.
On the other hand, PSPA has complied with the needed requirements and is now settling its concern for the vessel that will load the pigs from Iloilo.
“Ang problema natin ay ‘yong vessel, ayaw magkarga nang galing Iloilo to Palawan dahil mabaho raw. May grant ang Department of Agriculture para sa Palawan Swine Producers Association– everything is okay, ang problema wala kami makargahan. Iloilo lang ang pwedeng bilhan– Ngayon, ang ginagawa kong suggestion ay sumulat sa may-ari mismo ng Montenegro, requesting na i-allow ang pag-load ng breeders,” Colongon said.
Repopulating with good breeds
ProVet and PSPA both observe that most pigs in Palawan are inbred, which affects the quality of meat and speed of growth before reaching market value. A pure breed can reach its good size in the market within only a four-month span, but the pigs in Palawan are taking five months or longer.
“Kailangan natin i-upgrade ang stocks natin dito, kung hindi, liliit nang liliit ang production natin. Pagkatapos niyan, magastos sa feeds. Kapag ang stocks natin ay pure talaga, in four months pwede na i-market, tubong-tubo ka na,” Mangcucang said.
Colongon added that quality breeds will help farmers save expenses, particularly on sacks of feed, where costs are now continuously rising. It can also make farmers participate in the domestic market and compete with the meat quality of other provinces.
“Ang local na ginagamit natin ngayon, wala tayong choice kung hindi gamitin. Wala tayong choice kahit inferior na siya kasi ‘yon lang ang available, hindi tayo makapamili. Ang general impact nito ay mapalitan lahat ng pangit na lahi ng baboy sa Palawan– Wala na siyang identity kasi mismo ‘yong characteristics ng mga baboy na maganda ang breed ay hindi mo na makikita sa kaniya,” he said.
This development will push farmers to demand good prices from buyers. Currently, the price of the live weight hits P150 in the local market.
Aside from good breeding, Colongon also noted that raisers must also be knowledgeable about the technology needed in raising pigs. A good breed also needs good housing, management, nutrition, and waste management.
Once the imported pigs arrive, they will first be distributed to members of PSPA. The next batch of importation will be supported by Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative (SIDC) to also distribute additional pigs for all members of PSPA with over a hundred population.