CEBU

Pork sales drop 20% amid ASF

SALES of pork dropped by 20 percent in Central Visayas since the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak in Luzon.

This was revealed by officials of the Central Visayas Pork Producers Cooperative on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, as they also said it is safe to eat pork and other meat products.

They ate a lechon during a press conference where they also called on Cebuanos to support the local pork industry.

But the ban on live hogs, pork-related products and byproducts from Luzon will continue. Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said this after a meeting with Agriculture Secretary William Dar Tuesday night in Cebu where they discussed the ASF situation and the ban here.

On the drop in pork sales, Rolando Tambago, cooperative president, said the drop started three weeks ago, after the ASF outbreak in seven areas in Bulacan and Rizal was confirmed. “I can’t give actual numbers now. We noted a reduction of around 20 percent in our sales volume monthly,” he said.

Cooperative officials said consumers do not have to worry because they have ample supply, and the local pork in Central Visayas remain ASF-free.

“Our pork here is safe to eat. And we insist on the ban on pork and pork-related products from Luzon because we want it to remain that way to protect the livelihood of thousands of families in the local hog industry,” Tambago said.

The Cebu Provincial Government implemented a 100-day total ban on the entry of live hogs, pork, pork-related products, byproducts and boar semen from Luzon.

Tambago said they want to protect the local hog industry because of the hundreds of thousands of families in the region that rely on this livelihood, despite the appeal of the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (Pampi) to lift the ban.

“Some of the companies that are members of Pampi might have their businesses affected, but in terms of economy and supply, we can supply that because we have big players here in the province of Cebu,” he said.

When pork products from Luzon were pulled out of the market, Tambago said the stocks in the shelves were replenished in just two days.

“If we are worried that the ban would have an inflationary impact because of the cut in supply, local processors assured us that the stock would easily be replaced with local brands. We, as Cebuanos, should also support those products,”

he said.

After 30 to 50 days, if the group sees that there won’t be any big risk in the entry of Luzon-based products, Tambago said they would ask the governor to lift the ban.

“But if it would get worse, then we will ask to extend the ban on products from Luzon,” he said.

‘No overreacting’

Meanwhile, live hogs and pork products from Luzon are still temporarily banned from entering Cebu province for 100 days.

But this time, no one is “overreacting” or “underreacting” on the matter as the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the provincial governments of Cebu and Negros Oriental have committed to work closely against the deadly ASF.

The development came after DA Secretary Dar met with Garcia and Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo on Tuesday evening, Sept. 24.

Dar was supposed to fly back to Manila after attending an event in Iloilo, but he decided to pass by Cebu to meet with Central Visayas governors.

Although Bohol has implemented a similar measure to that of Cebu, Gov. Arthur Yap was unable to attend the meeting due to a prior commitment.

“We had a very friendly exchange, and you know what happened? In the end, we have the same objective and that is to protect the hog industry in this country. We are best of friends,” Dar told reporters an hour after their closed-door discussion.

Garcia, for her part, said she explained the circumstances that led her to issue Executive Order (EO) 16, which amended earlier EOs, to totally ban the entry of live hogs, pork, pork-related products, byproducts and boar semen from Luzon into Cebu for 100 days.

“The secretary has already read our executive order and he saw this is temporary. It is only for 100 days and we really hope that the situation will really improve after a hundred days or even before that,” Garcia said. RTF, JOB


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