Hog raisers in PHL seen earning more as devastating El Niño ends

The end of the latest El Niño cycle bodes well for hog raisers, as their income could improve in the next three months, according to the Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines Inc. (ProPork).

Edwin Chen, president of ProPork, said pork prices are slowly recovering with the onset of the rainy season.

Chen said the intense heat and lack of water brought about by El Niño retarded the growth of hogs. This, he said, resulted in lower hog prices.

“Although El Niño did not kill the hogs, it slowed down the growth rate of the animals in the first half of the year. But, with the onset of the rainy season, in three months the growth of hogs will normalize,” he told the BusinessMirror.

Agriculture Undersecretary for Livestock Jose C. Reaño said the farm-gate price of hogs, particularly in Metro Manila, has gone up to as much as P105 per kilogram, from P90 per kg three months ago.

Reaño said if prices continue to stabilize, the farm-gate price of pork may reach P110 per kg in the coming months.

Because of this, he said hog raisers can expect to gain as much as P1,000 per head, from P500 per head recorded in previous months.

La Niña’s impact

While the onset of the rainy season could result in bigger hogs, Chen said the excessive rain brought about by La Niña could create logistical constraints, which could result in lower pork sales.

“It depends on the severity of the La Niña episode. If there will be too much rainfall, floods may occur,” he said.

Chen said floods would delay the delivery of hogs to wet markets in Metro Manila. It may also discourage consumers from going to wet markets to buy fresh meat.

“Demand for pork may slow down. There will be a buildup in the inventory of hogs in the farm. By then, prices could possibly drop,” he added.

However, Reaño said this is just a “slight  inconvenience.” “It’s just a [logistical] problem. Besides, you can’t stop people from eating.”

In fact, Reano said La Niña will be advantageous to the sector, as hogs grow faster in cooler weather.

Meanwhile, both Chen and Reaño said they are optimistic the hog subsector will continue to grow this year.

“I think the livestock sector will also grow positively this year. People will be encouraged to go into hog raising because of the good price,” Chen said.

Reano, for his part, said he is confident the Department of Agriculture (DA) will be able to achieve its growth target of 5 percent for the livestock sector this year.

In the first half of the year, he said the DA was able to hit its target of growing the livestock sector by 4 percent year-on-year.

According to the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority, the hog industry grew by 5.47 percent in the first three months of 2016. The PSA said this enabled the whole livestock sector to grow by 4.66 percent in the first quarter.

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