iTalk by Ismael Amigo

Big help to Batangas hog raisers

Mar 3, 2021, 10:00 PM
Ismael Amigo

Ismael Amigo


A group of hog raisers and traders called a press conference somewhere in Metro Manila recently to denounce, for all intents and purposes, an increased importation plan by the Department of Agriculture amid rising costs of pork products.

Every Juan and Juana knew this was triggered by the shortage of pork supply, no thanks to ASF.

A three-month increased tariff on pork is what the DA considered as immediate 'band aid' solution to arrest the skyrocketing prices of pork.

The plan, however, did not sit well with the local hog raisers, alarmed that it might ultimately kick them out of business badly hit by the ASF virus.

Alarmed as they are, they have banded together and are now asking President Duterte to uproot DA Secretary William Dar from his post.

But methinks, that is unfair.

Unknown to them, the good Secretary is working silently on the sidelines to help them, to help them survive the scourge of ASF which we are all victims of directly or indirectly.

Only recently, the DA Secretary launched in Batangas, as a pilot area, the BABay ASF sa Barangay and so with the Hog Industry Recovery and Repopulation program.

Aside from these, the DA also has the Integrated National Swine Production Initiative for Recovery and Expansion (INSPIRE) program.

This is a similar repopulation program intended to slowly bring back the hog industry to life and ensure the availability, accessibility, and affordability of pork products.

Under INSPIRE, the DA will also be giving away piglets to pig raisers and farmers in areas not affected by ASF.

The endpoint of which is to increase the population of hogs and eventually increase pork supply in the market.

We have no idea how this is applied and how it works but the DA also introduced in Batangas an ASF Nanogold Biosensor Test Kits to local piggery owners in the province.

The ASF Nanogold Biosensor is a device used in detecting infection among hogs and separate them from 'clean' ones.

The province of Batangas has been designated as the pilot area of the agency and soon it will be expanded nationwide.

From where I sit, I could freely assume and agree that what the Agri chief is doing will be beneficial to all farmers and the country as a whole although its positive effects won't be felt until after three to four months as pigs need some time to grow to fatteners ready for the market.

Let's just give the good Secretary a little more time to prove his worth.

But resignation, as what the hog raisers are asking, may not be the end-all solution.


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