March 4, 2021
The private sector has pressed the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to approve the location of the First Border Control (FBC) facility in to arrest massive spread of African swine fever (ASF)-infected meat and livestock that wreaks havoc on farmers’ livelihood.
The Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc.(PCAFI) and member group Philippine Maize Federation Inc. (PMFI) have re-asserted their petition after the Department of Agriculture (DA) promised to put up the FBC facility in July last year.
“ASF as we know comes from outside of our country. We are very strict and compliant with all protocols in our movements from within our soil. Yet we failed in the First Border on what is coming into our country,” said PMFI President Roger Navarro.
Navarro said reports indicate the delay in the FBC construction is due to the delay in the approval of the location where the facility should be put up.
“We are told there are obstacles to implement the First Border Control facility due to pending approval from the Philippine Ports Authority to give the area. So we are calling on PPA and the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to cooperate and help,” said Navarro.
Danilo V. Fausto, PCAFI president, said government seemed to have allowed wayward spread of ASF with the delay in the FBC construction and the absence of systematic and organized hog vaccination program.
PCAFI urges government to implement all-out all measures to spread ASF through massive vaccination.
DA and Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) should get vaccine from Vietnam to stop ASF similar to how vaccination program for Covid 19 is being accelerated.
Fausto said the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) has developed rapid test kits for the early detection of ASF in hogs.
“This use of CLSU’s rapid test kits must be coming in too late after ASF’s discovery in 2019, but it’s better late than never,” he said.
Navarro said even if it is not its direct concern, PPA-DOTC should be pressed on the critical importance of the FBC.
“While we are experiencing the devastation of ASF from the consumers, piggery owners down to the lowly corn farmers, authorities that need to help seems to be asleep and does not care. DOTC should wake up. This is the time we need you on rescue mode and be partakers to save our country and farmers,” said Navarro.
PCAFI has also been petitioning before Congress long term development plans for the hog, poultry, and livestock sectors, not just short-term solutions to crises like ASF.
It is unfair that poultry and livestock gets only an average of 3% from the budget of DA while it contributes an estimated 35% in total agricultural production revenue. On the other hand, palay gets the whopping 40% of budget despite contributing only 22% in production revenue.
Moreover, livestock and poultry actually accounts for a significant 2.5% of the Philippines’ total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) revenue generation. That makes it a critical mover in national development.
Agriculture sector gets barely 2% of the total national budget, while contributing 9-10% of the GDP. With P4.5trillion 2021 budget, DA should get at least P405B in the national budget, livestock and poultry with at least P112.5B from the national budget.
Poultry and livestock plays a highly significant role in the economy as its condition has multiple effect in many other sectors.
“The feed industry is a P510 billion industry. Assuming two-thirds (67%) of feeds go to livestock and poultry, that represents P340 billion,” said Fausto.
Fausto also said DA does not really need to raise imports of meat and poultry given adequate distribution nationwide of the supply.
The supply is enough to fill the local demand. The need is to channel poultry and meat production, particularly from Visayas and Mindanao where these are produced, to where these are needed—Metro Manila and other cities. Melody Mendoza Aguiba