Fund for hog sector pushed amid ASF

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    Senate committee on agriculture, food and agrarian reform chairperson Cynthia Villar is proposing for the establishment of a fund for the development of the local livestock industry similar to the rice competitiveness enhancement fund.

    Villar told an online hearing yesterday she will file a bill that will put up the fund from the tariff collected on imported meat.

    “We’ll project the tariff income of the industry and allocate that to uses which they (stakeholders) think are important and one of them is disease control. We might also use that (fund) for the construction of first border control facilities in ports in the Philippines to control the entry of disease,” Villar added.

    Villar said the fund can also be used to institutionalize the grant of insurance subsidies as well as repopulation, establishment of breeder farms, marketing, education, health and credit.

    “If we will pass this bill, we should do it by December as Congress will be on recess by January (2022)… will be busy for the campaign period,” she said.

    In the same hearing, Senator Francis Pangilinan urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to have the President declare a state of emergency due to the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak.

    This is to be able to realign additional funds to help the local hog industry which has lost P50 billion due to the disease.

    “This public emergency declaration will now address the measly budget that is not intended for loans. We should also study how to get additional funding from the tariffs to support this public emergency,” Pangilinan added.

    DA Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan supported the call, saying the ASF has affected 2,402 of the country’s 42,045 barangays, in 463 municipalities, 40 provinces in 12 regions of the country and affected 68,382 farmers.

    Based on DA’s latest projections, the country’s supply of pork this year will be at 1,229,565 metric tons (MT) of carcass as production will reach 1,1916,403 MT paired with the beginning stocks of 33,162 MT.

    Meanwhile, the agency said that demand will be at 1,618,355 MT for a deficit of 388,790 MT. – with Raymond Africa