NOTE: THIS PRESS RELEASE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
The scrimp in feeds resulting from the total ban in feeds and raw materials from entering Bohol is slowly affecting the prices of market price for pork and reducing the number of hog growers province-wide, but still, the over-all hog production of the province is 254%, way higher than the region’s biggest producer.
This is according to Provincial veterinarian Stella Marie Lapiz, who spoke before information officers intentionally gathered for the African Swine Fever (ASF) briefing held at the Bohol Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) session hall last Friday.
The briefing also aims to enlist the strong information officers network in Bohol as additional warm bodies in helping by keeping watch in Bohol’s porous borders from potential incursion and smuggling of pork, pork products, and live pigs from Cebu and neighboring provinces tagged with the ASF.
With the hog disease confirmed by the Department of Agriculture in Cebu, Bohol has intensified its border watch and control by enlisting 13 canine sniffers, over 80 veterinary quarantine inspectors and disinfection officers assigned to the ports of entry, to ascertain that Provincial Ordinance No. 2022-011 is implemented.
The said ordinance imposes a total ban on the entry of live pigs, pork, pork products, and frozen semen from ASF-affected areas and imposes penalties for its violations.
In fact, due to the possibility that the ASF virus can be carried through mishandling of feeds and raw materials to Bohol, the watch pressed on to fully ban these hog feeds passing through from Cebu.
Since December 2022, except in February when Bohol accepted 40 heads of live hogs for breeding purposes, and with complete documents required by Executive Order No 45, Bohol has not had any live hogs getting in, according to Dr. Lapiz.
On the other hand, Bohol, which has remained ASF-free and has a 254% sufficiency level of hog production has since shipped out a total of nearly 10,000 heads of hogs.
But with the bulk of commercial feeds dwindling due to the prohibition, only feed coming from Cagayan de Oro and Leyte are allowed to enter Bohol, and only 41,260 sacks have entered the island, to feed 143,910 head of hogs, as of last count.
The present hog population is way below the 210,300 hog population all across districts in 2020.
In 2021, the total hog production in Bohol reached 183,826 heads, or about 40,000 heads more than the 2022 data provided by the Municipal Agriculture Office’s livestock population data.
The 41% decline in production can be associated with the increased price of commercial feeds or the fear of losses should Bohol see an endemic case of the virus, observers assumed.
Despite the overproduction which enables Bohol hog growers to ship live hogs out, the demand for frozen meat has Bohol accepting documented ASF-free and certified 458,008 kilograms of frozen pork products as reported by Bohol’s veterinary quarantine units.
This too as the demand for Bohol frozen pork which is ASF-Free continues to build reaching 1,856,456 kilograms in the last 6 months.
This is about 310,000 kilograms per month, pork growers, and some of the backyard farmers enjoying the better prices of pork in markets where meat is getting scarce and consumers ordinarily pick ASF-free and certified pork.
By now, the options for hog growers are either to continue with the escalation in feeds due to low supply and gamble on the outside market, or on the local market, which has since seen a rise in pork prices.
As to the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian, local mall prices for prime cuts range from P290 at Alturas Mall and P315 at BQ Mall. Shoppers Mart sells their prime cuts at P305.
Public markets on the other hand sell the same at P300 in Cogon Public Market and P330 in Dao Central Market, according to the OPV. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)