December 16, 2008

Philippine pork prices to increase amid ebola contamination


Pork prices in the Philippines will likely rise due to seasonally high demand, despite detection of Ebola strain in hogs in Luzon.


Renato R. Eleria, chairman of the National Federation of Hog Farmers, Inc., said that they see pork prices increasing to PHP100 per kilogramme from the current PHP95 per kilogramme due to strong demand.


Eleria said that average farm prices of pork have risen to PHP95 per kilogramme last week from PHP89- PHP90 per kilogramme in November. Farm prices hovered around PHP85 per kilogramme in October and PHP82-84 per kilogramme in September.


Retail prices of pork have also risen to PHP140-PHP160 per kilogramme last week from PHP130-PHP150 per kilogramme average for last month, data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics show.


In October, retail price of pork cuts averaged PHP145-PHP170 per kilogramme.


But detection of the Ebola reston virus strain, which prompted the Agriculture department to put under quarantine commercial hog farms in Pandi, Manaoag, as well as backyard farms in Talavera and Cabanatuan (Nueva Ecija) on Dec 8, 2008, will affect public perception on pork, Eleria admitted.


Eleria said his group is working with the government and hog industry stakeholders to disseminate information that there is no cause for alarm.


Jane C. Bacayo, officer-in-charge executive director of the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), said that there are reports that the demand for pork will not go down, but he thinks consumption will be affected by the Ebola issue.


Bacavo added that they always inform consumers to buy pork inspected and certified by the NMIS.


A statement yesterday of the Agriculture department said Secretary Arthur C. Yap has ordered the department's attached agencies, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and NMIS to tighten monitoring of pork meat movements in Luzon.


Measures are contained in Administrative Orders Number 28 and 32, which prohibit the transport of animals and animal by-products without health certification and shipping documents.


The BAI and NMIS were also tasked to coordinate with local governments to test hogs in their localities.


Carlos B. Mendoza, executive director of the Livestock Development Council said the Department of Agriculture department is waiting for the test kits from the US to diagnose the hogs.


1 USD = PHP47.4100

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