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Gov’t mulls 50% insurance subsidy for hog raisers amid low supply

MJ Blancaflor

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The government is considering providing a 50-percent insurance subsidy for commercial hog raisers in a bid to further boost the pork supply in the country, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the proposal was raised during a Cabinet meeting led by President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, adding that the subsidy could be sourced from the Department of Agriculture (DA)’s quick response fund.

“This is just one initiative being considered to help our hog farmers increase supply,” he said.

“What is important now is the measures designed to respond to economic concerns are continuous while the roll-out of the vaccines is being prepared. One of them is the giving of additional support for our hog raisers to address the lack of supply of pork in the market,” he added.

Pork prices in Metro Manila have soared as high as P450 per kilo earlier this year due to limited supply, as the hog industry reels from the impact of African swine fever (ASF), successive typhoons, and government-imposed lockdowns.

To address the matter, the government bought hogs from the Visayas, Mindanao, and parts of Luzon that were not affected by the ASF and shipped to the capital region.

President Duterte also imposed a 60-day price ceiling on pork prices in Metro Manila and has been reviewing proposals to ease importation restrictions and lower existing tariffs on pork products to bring down its cost in the market.

The government has also recently allocated P27 billion in loans to support the hog industry and has also formed an anti-hoarding task force.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar has previously urged backyard and commercial hog raisers to avail of insurance packages to help them recover from the impact of ASF outbreak.

The DA’s Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, the sole government agricultural insurance firm in the country, included ASF among the risks covered by its livestock insurance as early as 2019.

According to the department’s official website, it grants P10,000 worth of insurance per head of swine on a premium payment of only 2.25 percent or P225, while small backyard hog raisers listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture are given free insurance.

The DA is scheduled to hold a food security summit with local government units and the private sector to craft a plan on how to ensure food security in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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