VIS-MIN TO INCREASE HOG SHIPMENTS TO LUZON
Shipments of live hogs and frozen carcass or “pork-in-a- box” from Visayas and Mindanao (Vis-Min) will be increased starting this week to address the current low supply and artificial high prices of pork in public markets in Metro Manila and other areas in Luzon.
Top officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and representatives of the country’s hog industry agreed to heighten shipments of hogs and “pork-in-a-box” from Vis-Min to Luzon, which have started since May, now totaling close to 100,000 hogs.
“We will elevate our partnerships with hog producers and traders, ship owners and operators, and local government officials in Visayas and Mindanao to supply Metro Manila and Luzon with hogs and frozen pork, and eventually bring down prices for the benefit of consumers,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
Weekly shipments will be increased, ranging from 27,000 to 30,000 head of hogs, coming from the main ports in Davao, General Santos (GenSan) and Cagayan de Oro (CDO), commencing next week up to December this year, said Secretary Dar, who chaired the virtual meeting, attended by DA undersecretaries, major hog producers, and DA regional directors in Visayas and Mindanao.
During the meeting, it was reported that San Miguel Corp. (SMC) targets to hike shipments of “pork-in-a-box” to four container vans or 48 metric tons (MT) per week from Mindanao. Each van contains 12 MT of frozen hog carcass.
DA regional directors in the Visayas said shipments of live hogs will also come from Cebu, Iloilo, and Leyte.
Dar said the concerted effort will greatly boost the dwindling supply of pork in Luzon due to the depopulation of hog farms infected with African Swine Fever (ASF).
“This is a problem of logistics — including sourcing, distribution, and marketing — which we can address without difficulty. All we ask is the full cooperation of key players in the entire hog industry value chain,” Dar said.
He added that he sought the assistance of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, who has committed to work with shipping companies to increase the number and frequency of vessels plying the routes from Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Davao, and other major ports in Vis-Min bound for Manila and other Luzon ports.
Further, the DA chief said the suggested retail price (SRP) for pork and other pork products is currently being reviewed. As of now, he said, prices of pork in selected supermarkets are much lower than in wet markets in Metro Manila.
He has tasked DA Undersecretary for Consumer Affairs Ernesto Gonzales to oversee this undertaking with the assistance of the DA Vis-Min regional directors, officials of the Bureau of Animal Industry, and National Meat Inspection Service, and major hog producers.