Pork meat supply in Palawan has begun to stabilize and local hog growers are now more confident in returning to production without the anxiety of suffering from losses, according to the Provincial Veterinary Office (ProVet).
Dr. Darius Mangcucang of ProVet, in an interview with Palawan News, noted that the price of live weight has recovered to P150 per kilo from a low of P80 to P90 recently.
He attributed the recovery to the decision of the national government to impose a price freeze on pork amidst the problem of spreading African Swine Fever (ASW) that had crippled the hog industry.
He explained that the previous situation in Palawan, where many traders have opted to sell their hogs in Luzon to command higher prices, is no longer the trend.
“Nagkaroon ng price freeze si president [Rodrigo] Duterte, sa Manila bumaba na rin ang price ng karne, yong mga namimili naman outside ng Palawan. Di ba nag-i-export tayo palabas ng Palawan? Na-stop ‘yon, malulugi ang mga negosyante kung bibili sila dito at pagdating Manila ay hindi rin nila maitataas ibig sabihin makakapa-repopulate tayo ng baboy uli dito kung di sila makakalabas,” Mangcucang said.
He said that there is currently an increasing interest to restart hog growing.
“Noong nagkaroon nga ng mataas na bili, maraming naghahanap ng biik, ibig sabihin gusto nila mag-repopulate. Gusto nila magparami lalo na ‘yong dating nag-aalaga na huminto ay bumibili na naman para mag-alaga o magparami ng baboy,” he said.
Earlier this year, local consumers experienced a scarcity of pork supply as some growers preferred selling their live pigs outside Palawan as the local market cannot compensate their expenses with the previous price range.
Local veterinarians also added that due to the unavailability of feeds during movement restrictions under the community quarantine, some hog raisers and large farms were also forced to dispose of their pigs at cheaper prices.
MIMAROPA region that remains African Swine Fever (ASF) free is one of the six regions supporting the hog supplies of Metro Manila as per February 12 update of Department of Agriculture (DA).
According to Mangcucang, Palawan has released about 300 hogs with veterinary health certificate provided by ProVet to be sent in Metro Manila.
Mangcucang added that Palawan has many piglets, which are not market size yet but are expected to increase the hog population as they grow.
“Kung sa population ay okay pa naman kasi nag-submit din ‘yong ating LGUs kaya lang bumaba ‘yong number ng kinakatay sa slaughter house sa kanila. Halimbawa dating 30 naging 15. Ang rason doon ay may namimili pero ngayon wala na rin namimili dahil nagbaba na rin ng presyo ngayon sa Kamaynilaan kaya asahan natin yan na unti-unti rin babalik,” he said.
ProVet told Palawan News that in the 2020 figure of Bureau of Animal Statistics (BAS), Palawan has around 175,000 hogs population including commercial and backyard farming.
“Meron tayo noong 2020, yong sa Bureau of Animal Statistics, parang nasa 170 plus (170,000) kasama na yong commercial and backyard, parang nasa 175,000 mga ganoon noong 2020, buong Palawan na yon kasama mga isla. Yong submission naman ng LGU sa amin, nasa 90,000. Siguro sila ay estimate-estimate, iyang 90 plus, hindi naman yan accurate, more or less yan, baka sumobra kasi hindi naman lahat naiikot,” he said.
Mangcucang added that the municipality of Dumaran could also help in repopulation as it is considered as the “hog capital of the North” with about 3,500 breeders.
“Dito sa Dumaran ay maraming breeder yan kasi parang ito yong hog capital ng north, marami ritong breeder, maraming farm dito, parang nasa 3,500 plus ang breeder, yong inahin. Isipin mo kung manganak yan bawat isa, sabihin natin na sampu-sampu, libo yan. Tapos yong palakihin naman ay nasa 10,000 plus, isipin mo yan kaya dito nga pwede sila bumili ng breeder nila, kung gusto nila magparami ng baboy dito sa Dumaran sila pumunta,” he said.
ProVet’s intervention, however, is limited in extending technical support as they have no funds for dispersal project, he explained. The veterinary office has trained barangay veterinary aides that could help local hog growers to treat their pigs even at barangay level.
“Kasi more on para bang pagti-train namin sa swine production kasi kung sa pondo lang, wala kaming pondo na halimbawa magdi-dispersal, wala kaming pondo sa ganon. Puro technical lang kami, nag-iikot kami sa mga munisipyo bago i-encourage namin ang farmers kasi maganda ang pagkikita sa pagbababuyan,” he said.