THOUSANDS of farmers left hog raising and sought better economic opportunities in cities and abroad, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), which revealed that over 500,000 pig farms shut down from 1980 to 2012.
In its 2012 Census Report on Livestock and Poultry, the PSA said 533,000 hog farms closed during the 32-year period. The number of hog farms in 2012 were estimated at 1.55 million, or 25.6 percent lower than the 2.082 million farms recorded in 1980.
Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines Inc. President Edwin G. Chen agreed with the PSA report. Chen said farmers were lured out of hog raising by better economic opportunities in the city and abroad.
“That is why we are trying to help small-holder pig farms [by organizing] them into associations and cooperatives. It doesn’t mean [that] if you are small you are doomed,” he told the BusinessMirror in an interview on Sunday.
“They can organize themselves into a big group [and achieve economies of scale]. [They will have a] central purchasing system and a central marketing system,” he added.
However, the PSA noted that the expansion of the swine population in 2012 by 36.9 percent to 7.709 million heads from 5.632 million heads, in 1980 eclipsed the double-digit decline in the number of hog-raising farms.
The increase in swine population resulted in a higher hog-to-raiser ratio in 2012 at 5:1, PSA data showed.
“A hog/pig holding/farm in 2012 had five hogs/pigs, on the average, compared with only three heads per holding/farm in 1980,” PSA said, noting that only hog farming posted an increase in ratio among all livestock subsectors.
Chen attributed the increase in swine population to improvements in pig genetics, nutrition and farm management.
He added that more farms also consolidated their production to achieve economies of scale.
“Modern pig production has increased tonnage produced. For example, market weight before was just 75 kilograms. Now it is 100 kilograms,” he said.
The PSA noted that the increase in demand for pork-based products drove the higher output in hogs by raisers over the past decades. It noted that pork dishes, such as lechon and adobo, are popular in the Philippines.
“Roasted pig, popularly known as lechon, is the star dish in ‘fiestas’ or festivals and important events celebrated by Filipino families in most parts of the country all year round,” it said.
“Adobo,” a recognized Pinoy best seller in local and international food markets, is also mainly a pork meat dish,” it added.
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