THE National Livestock Program (NLP) is awaiting approval for its thee-year development plan from President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., who is also the Secretary of Agriculture.
The plan covers the 2023 to 2025 period and is part of a broader effort to raise productivity in priority commodities like rice, corn, high-value crops, and fisheries.
NLP Director Ruth S. Miclat-Sonaco told reporters last week that among the program’s goals is to restore the hog population to the level it was before the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF).
“The original pre-ASF inventory was around 12 million head. It is currently 9.8 million head,” she said.
The Philippines first detected ASF in 2019.
Ms. Sonaco hoped the growth in production “would redound to increased income for farmers.”
The activities for the livestock sector include indemnification for ASF-hit hog farms, she said.
She said a budget proposal for indemnification of P10,000 per head will be submitted for inclusion in the General Appropriations Act of 2024.
The three-year program also includes the expansion of the repopulation program known as the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that hog production rose 2.4% year on year to 1.74 million metric tons liveweight.
Last year, meat imports increased 16.4% to 1.35 billion kilograms, according to the Bureau of Animal Industry.
Pork imports accounted for 710.36 million kilograms in 2022.
Jesus C. Cham, president of Meat Importers and Traders Association, said in a Viber message that retailers “still enjoy a good margin versus cost.”
“But I suppose some are raising prices to make up for lower sales volume,” he added.
“International (pork) prices have gone up so importers are reluctant and waiting for buying opportunities. Meanwhile, inventory is being depleted,” he said.
He also said demand for beef is still low as it is more expensive than pork and poultry. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera