HOG growers in northern Mindanao are dismayed by what they perceived as the apparent lack of government support, specifically from the agriculture department, in boosting the swine-raising industry in the region.

What the Northern Mindanao Hog Raisers Association (NorMinHog) is particularly complaining about is the aborted plan to build a triple-A slaughterhouse in Cagayan de Oro that would have benefited economically not just region 10 but the whole of Mindanao and would uplift the standards of the piggery operators in the island.

But, NorMinHog vice president Dr. Benjamin Alberece said it would now be difficult for the project to be realized after the Department of Agriculture (DA) decided not to build a high-standard slaughterhouse here because there was no feasible site for it in the city or other parts of northern Mindanao.

Not informed

What was really appalling, Albarece said that NorMinHog was not even informed there was such a project.

The association was only made aware of it when the DA announced it had realigned the budget intended for the construction of the state-of-the-art slaughterhouse.

“We never knew that there was such a (fund). We were not consulted, Wala ‘mi mahibalo (we are unaware of this) of the government plan to put up an ‘AAA’ slaughterhouse,” Albarece told reporters during a gathering of NorMinHog members in a hotel here last Saturday, June 28.

A triple-A abattoir, he said, will have complete facilities like a cold chain, cold storage and blast freezers that could store meat for a long time.

But the most valued advantage of having a triple-A slaughterhouse, Albarece said, is for Northern Mindanao to export meat to other countries, something that the local hog-raising industry is incapable at the moment.

At present, NorMinHog relies on two double-A abattoirs in the region—one in barangay Cugman, which is privately operated and another one, a local government unit (LGU)-owned, in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.

With the double-A facility, Albarece said NorMinHog could only sell their products to other parts of the country but not outside the Philippines.

“If you want to export, you need to have a triple-A slaughterhouse,” he added.

Alberece said that the movement in the meat industry becomes unpredictable as prices may increase or fall, which is dictated primarily by the availability of the supply.

Volatile price movement

“There are times that price of meat is volatile, tending to go up or down depending on the supply. If supply is excessive, you can slaughter it and store it first and then i-unload it when the supply is low. That’s what we don’t have,” he said.

“Without these facilities that a triple-A slaughterhouse has, we are vulnerable to the price movement,” he furthered.

The putting up of a triple-A abattoir would be very helpful to the local swine-raising industry, “but I don’t know if it would come soon. The industry is strong but I don’t know what’s going to happen to it without the help of the government,” Albarece furthered.

At press time, the DA office in region 10 has yet to issue a statement regarding the concern raised by NorMinHog.