Hog production in Region 12 drops

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/8 April) — Pork producers here and the neighboring localities are pushing for the revitalization of the local backyard hog or swine sector in a bid to address declining production.

Dr. Emilio Escobillo Jr., chair of the South Cotabato Swine Producers Association (Socospa), said Region 12’s hog production dropped significantly last year due to the declining number of local backyard swine raisers.

He said such situation was mainly seen in this city and in the provinces of South Cotabato and Sarangani, where the group’s members are based.

Region 12, which is also known as the Soccsksargen Region, comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

A report released by the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 12’s Veterinary Quarantine Services showed that the region’s excess hog production and shipments dropped to 124,366 heads last year from the 129,383 heads in 2012.

Citing an assessment conducted by Socospa, Escobillo said the share of the backyard swine sector in the region’s hog production went down to 60 percent last year from the previous 72 to 74 percent.

As a result, he said the commercial sector’s production share increased to 40 percent from the previous 22 to 25 percent.

He said the decline in the number of backyard swine raisers was mainly due to marketing problems and the increasing cost of inputs.

“We need to revive our backyard sector so we can be more competitive and expand our markets further,” he told MindaNews in an interview.

Escobillo said the revitalization of the area’s backyard swine sector is a key component of their continuing preparations for the economic integration starting next year of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member-states.

He said they have long been preparing for the ASEAN economic integration, specifically for the possibility of supplying or shipping pork products to key markets in the region.

Escobillo said they are also bracing for the possibility of facing competition with pork meat products coming from other areas in the ASEAN.

“To overcome that, we need to have our backyard sector back on its feet and be more viable and competitive, especially locally,” he said.

To address the problems affecting the backyard swine sector, Escobillo said he sought assistance from the DA regional and national offices for the implementation of support programs for the sector.

He said they specifically requested for the provision of financial grants and the opening of credit facilities for backyard swine raisers.

He said they also partnered with swine feed producers for the provision of more technical support to local swine raisers.

“We’re doubling our efforts right now to address the sector’s problems and we’re hoping to gain significant results before the end of the year,” he added. (MindaNews)