African swine fever

Ban on Zamboanga hogs pushes pork demand in Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental

Herbie Gomez

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Ban on Zamboanga hogs pushes pork demand  in Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental

DOOMED. Pigs ready for culling in General Santos City in the Soccsksargen Region in January 2022.

Rommel Rebollido/Rappler

The ban causes a local shortage of bigger Zamboanga Peninsula-bred hogs ahead of the holiday season

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Pork prices slightly increased in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental after local governments imposed separate temporary bans on the transport of hogs from the Zamboanga Peninsula to prevent the spread of the African swine fever (ASF), local officials said on Wednesday, November 30.

The orders caused a local shortage of bigger Zamboanga Peninsula-bred hogs being processed into lechon (roast pigs) ahead of the December holidays, said Misamis Oriental provincial veterinarian Benjamin Resma.

The supply of other pork products was still sufficient because of the local production, he said.

“But when there is a ban, there will be a shortage, and prices are expected to increase because of the law on supply and demand,” Resma said.

The orders to temporarily ban the transport of hogs and pork products from the Zamboanga Peninsula were issued by Cagayan de Oro Mayor Rolando Uy and Misamis Oriental Governor Peter Unabia because areas in western Mindanao remained under the ASF red zone category of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

“This is a crucial step to revive the hog industry in the city. We are doing this to protect our city,” read part of the Cagayan de Oro city government’s public notice. 

DA placed Cagayan de Oro under a pink zone category, which means that the city has no ASF case but serves as a buffer zone, and is near an infected territory or a red zone.

The ASF has been a recurring problem in the Zamboanga Peninsula since early this year. Other Mindanao regions have been seeing ASF cases since 2020.

In Zamboanga City alone, at least 34 villages saw increasing ASF infections.

In October alone, officials counted 4,365 hog deaths, and 1,053 adversely affected hog raisers in nearly three dozen villages in Zamboanga City where ASF infections have been a recurring problem since the first quarter of 2022.

The situation prompted the city government and the Department of Labor and Employment to collaborate and aid farmers whose hogs were culled.

Zamboanga City veterinarian Mario Arriola said the first batch of nearly 150 beneficiaries received initial aid through a cash-for-work scheme this month.

The program beneficiaries were paid minimum daily wages in exchange for cleaning and disinfecting pig pens, or for doing other forms of community service.

The National ASF Prevention and Control Program (NASFPCP) also sent a team to Zamboanga Sibugay province to check on at least four towns threatened by ASF. –

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