DA invests P300M to improve hog industry in Cordillera

DA invests P300M to improve hog industry in Cordillera
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AT LEAST P300 million has been allocated for the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (INSPIRE) program in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), eyed to produce at least 16,800 hogs per season.

“INSPIRE aims to address the hog supply in the region especially after some hog growers were affected by African swine fever (ASF),” said Dr. Kevin Luna, Department of Agriculture-CAR senior agriculturist for the livestock program, which started in 2022.

DA-CAR has identified at least 30 qualified Farmer Cooperative Associations (FCAs) that were allotted PHP5.5 million each for the construction of a 300-head capacity pig pen and for the purchase of piglets, feeds and other inputs.

A total of PHP165 million was allotted for the first batch while PHP135 million was set aside for the second batch, with 26 FCA beneficiaries spread out in all six provinces of the region.

“The goal is for all the INSPIRE projects to reach their maximum load capacity and if they do, the 56 INSPIRE projects will be able to give an additional supply of at least 16,000 heads. This is the first time we are having commercial piggeries in the region for CAR’s consumption and this project will be a big boost to our pork sufficiency,” Luna, a veterinarian said.

The region has been largely reliant on the supply from other regions, supplemented by the backyard growers from the villages of the Cordillera.

Before the height of the ASF infestation, at least 300 hogs are being butchered at the Baguio City abattoir daily to meet the city’s consumption. This dropped to 150 during the pandemic due to a lack of supply and demand, as a result of the skyrocketing prices of pork.

At present, about 200 hogs are butchered at the city’s abattoir per day.

“Not just Baguio City, which is a highly urbanized city with the concentration of people being here, the whole Cordillera region is a largely pork-eating region. Based on the PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data, a Cordilleran consumes 15 kilograms of pork per year, which is the highest in the nation, with other regions recording only about 12 to 13 kilograms,” Luna said.

To date, of the 30 first FCAs, 22 have been completed, with 14 having been loaded with pigs and producing for the meat requirement, he said.

At least eight are on the first cycle, four on the second cycle and two are on their third cycle, he said.

A cycle refers to the period when a piglet is started to be raised until they reach the period of maturity, ready to be sold.

Challenges

Luna said supply of piglets remains the primary challenge for FCA but noted that “to remedy this, the FCAs resorted to buying the piglets produced by their members, which, however were not sufficient to meet the heads required.”

He added that the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) had been commissioned to start with the PHP20 million worth of INSPIRE’s Artificial Insemination (AI) in villages project, which was piloted in the provinces of Apayao, Mountain Province and Ifugao.

He said the region is picking up in terms of pork supply,, especially with backyard growers resuming their hog-raising activities.

Threat of ASF

He said the threat of ASF remains, with 12 cases still monitored in the region - - seven in Abra, two in Apayao and three in Benguet, but stressed that the region remains active in eradicating ASF.

From 2020 to 2022, at least 5,907 hogs were culled due to ASF, which affected 1,182 farmers in the region and prompted the government to spend at least PHP30 million for the indemnification of the killed animals to prevent the further spread of ASF.

The government also spent at least PHP74 million in the form of sentinel pigs, veterinary drugs and biologics, ASF rapid test kits, disinfectants and veterinary drugs in support of sentinelling.

Sentinel pigs refer to the piglets provided several months after the culling, (PNA)

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