MANILA, Philippines — The government is considering providing a 50-percent insurance subsidy to hog raisers to address the pork supply lack caused by the African Swine Fever (ASF).
Augmenting the supply of pork in the market was one of the topics discussed during Monday night's Cabinet meeting at Malacañang, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.
"One proposal being studied is an insurance subsidy of 50% for commercial hog raisers that will utilize the quick response fund under the quick response fund of the Department of Agriculture. This is just one initiative being considered to help our hog farmers increase supplies," Nograles said at a press briefing.
"What is important now is the measures designed to respond to economic concerns are continuous while the roll-out of the vaccines is being prepared. One of them is the giving of additional support for our hog raisers to address the lack of supply of pork in the market," he added.
Prices of pork products have soared as the supply of hogs has been depleted because of the ASF. The significant increase in pork retail prices prompted President Duterte to issue Executive Order No. 124 setting price caps of P270 per kilo for kasim or pork shoulder, P300 per kilo for liempo or pork belly, and P160 per kilo for dressed chicken.
Some hog traders and vendors claim the price ceilings are too low given the high production costs and are holding a pork holiday to protest the executive order.
To ensure enough supply of pork in the market, the government bought hogs from the Visayas, Mindanao, and parts of Luzon that were not affected by the ASF. It has also formed an anti-hoarding task force and has allocated P27 billion in loans to support the hog industry.
A proposal to import more pork at lower tariffs has also been submitted to Duterte for his signature. The recommendation seeks to raise the minimum access volume for pork imports from 54,000 Metric Tons to 404,210 MT as the demand for the product is projected to hit 1.6 million MT this year, higher than the expected pork supply of 1.22 million MT.