Local hog producers belonging to the Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines (ProPork) said they are keen on expanding the country’s swine inventory by 100,000 heads this year to cut the farm gate and retail price of pork.
ProPork President Edwin G. Chen said the local hog industry needs to step up production to meet the increasing protein requirement of Filipino consumers, particularly the youth.
“Our target is gradually, every year, to meet the protein requirements of the Filipino consumers. The average age in the Philippines now is 23 years old, meaning most of them are earning,” Chen told the BusinessMirror.
“The consumption of protein increases as people earn more. With increased purchasing power, consumers can now afford other protein sources [like pork],” he added.
Chen said he made the pronouncement to hike the country’s sow output during the 26th National Hog Convention held recently, which was attended by members of the ProPork and the National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc.
He also disclosed that hog raisers are eyeing to increase the current swine inventory of 1.6 million heads to 2 million heads by 2020.
“We have to add sows to meet the pork requirement of the country. With the increase, the farm-gate price of pork would decline, making pork meat affordable to consumers,” he said.
Citing industry stakeholders, Chen said they are closely monitoring the policies of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, which would affect the hog sector, particularly those concerning smuggling.
“If the government creates the right environment for the private sector to invest in, say, they are controlling smuggling and the farmers are earning, then more players would invest,” he said.
Citing the case of the previous administrations, Chen said some players in the hog industry were discouraged from expanding due to “inconsistencies” in government policy on smuggling. “Our sow inventory before was already 2 million heads. However, a lot of farms closed because of the changing policies of the government in smuggling—sometimes they favor the smuggler, sometimes they favor the farmers,” he said. “If the government will provide a healthy environment, we can increase the sow inventory by 100,000 heads a year. So if the environment is good, it will only take around two to three years to hit the 2 million,” Chen said.
Aside from increasing output, Chen said hog raisers are also keen on hiking the live weight of hogs by 10 kilograms to 105 kg, from the current average of 95 kg.
Increasing the live weight of hogs would be more cost-efficient for raisers, as the cost incurred in some production inputs, such as vaccines, are only of the same price as producing a hog with a weight of 90 kg to 95 kg, he said.
To ensure these targets would be attained, Chen said the government should eliminate diseases, such as the classical swine fever or hog cholera, which could threaten the livelihood of backyard raisers who account for 60 percent of the country’s hog output.
Data from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showed that per-capita consumption of pork in the Philippines in 2017 would reach 14.2 kg, slightly lower than the 14.26 kg recorded last year.
However, OECD data also showed that the country’s pork meat requirement this year will reach 1.889 million metric tons (MMT), slightly higher than the 1.87 MMT recorded last year.
Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that the country’s sow inventory as of July 1, 2016, reached 1.68 million heads, 2.58 percent higher than the 2015 record of 1.64 million heads.
The bulk of the country’s sow inventory, or 64.23 percent, were in backyard farms. Commercial farms accounted for the rest of the sow inventory in July 2016.
Last year hog production reached 2.23 MMT, 5.23 percent higher than the 2.12 MMT produced in 2015. The total hog produced last year was valued at P116.292 billion.