Placing the interest of the Cebuanos first over anything else is always the primary objective of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia's governance.
In another move to protect the interest of Cebuanos, Garcia signed on Friday, January 29, Executive Order (EO) No. 8, series of 2021 which prohibits the export of live hogs and sows to other parts in the country for half a year starting today, February 1.
The six-month prohibition aims to stabilize the market prices of pork and pork-related products. Presently, pork products like liempo range from P260 to P280 from P180 to P190.
On Friday, Garcia met with the members of the Central Visayas Pork Producers' Coop (CeViPPCo) to discuss the surge in the prices of pork meat in the local market due to the huge demand for hogs from Luzon caused by the drop in supply due to the African Swine Fever (ASF).
Sinag, an agriculture advocacy group, reported that the ASF affected 70 percent of pork supply in Luzon resulting in sourcing from Mindanao and Visayas.
The Department of Agriculture (DA), in a separate report, said 25 of the 81 provinces in the country have been affected by the disease with almost 350,000 pigs culled since the ASF outbreak in September 2019.
The agriculture agency also reported that the hog industry in the country lost P56 billion due to the ASF.
"There is an urgent need to strictly regulate the export of live hogs and sows to other areas in order to protect the pig supply in the Province of Cebu," Garcia said in the order.
Based on CeViPPCo's latest figures, demand for January 2021 at 4,226 metric tons (MT) was not met by the group as they were only able to produce 2,750 MT. Backyard hog raisers provided the demand gap.
CeViPPCo President Paul Holaysan told Sugbo News they fully support the governor's call.
"We support the governor on her decision to restrict the movement of live hogs kay she is only looking at the welfare of the Cebuanos. She told us priority gyud ang mga Cebuano which we support and agree with her," he said.
In the same meeting, it was also agreed that they will drop their prices to P170 to P180 a kilo as current market prices ranged from P190 to P195 a kilo based on Manila and Luzon buyer's price.
"We know grabe pamalit, even mga gagmay nga mga baboy o mga anay gipamalit nila," he said.
"For the pricing, we also supported it kay we also want ang ato pork diri sa Cebu affordable pud. Dili ta mopareha sa Manila nga miabot og P400 ang presyo. Atoa magtinabangay lang ta. We know that our governor has the best interest of the Cebuano in her heart and we also have the same interest (which is) for the Cebuano also," Holaysan added.
He said they're seeing local prices to stabilize in the next few weeks after the implementation of the EO.
As to exemptions, export of breeder pigs will be allowed for the duration of the EO's effectivity.
"Breeder farms duly accredited by the Bureau of Animal Industry may be allowed to export breeder pigs to other parts of the country subject to the concurrence of the Provincial Veterinary Office,” the EO read.
"However, buyers within the Province of Cebu shall be prioritized for purposes of breeding and repopulation," it continued. (Vanessa L. Almeda)