Agri chief calls for stronger, sustained partnerships to revive Phl hog industry
Underscoring farm clustering and consolidation in attaining economies of scale and national food security, Agriculture Secretary William Dar calls anew for stronger and sustained partnerships with the private sector, financial institutions, and organized farmers’ and fishers’ groups, particularly to revive the country’s swine industry.
On February 18, he witnessed the signing of memorandum of agreement (MOA) between officials of Charoen Pokphand Foods Philippines (CPFP) Corporation and Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) that aims to provide credit, marketing, and technical assistance to clustered farmers’ and fisherfolk’s cooperatives and associations (FCAs), and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) engaged in the food value chain.
“I am delighted to be here with you today, as we officially seal the partnership that pushes for joint action towards more productive, innovative, and robust swine and aquaculture industries,” Secretary Dar said, after the MOA signing ceremony at CPFP aqua feed mill complex, in Samal, Bataan.
Under the agreement, LandBank will provide credit assistance to CPFP contract growers or beneficiaries who may use the approved loan for building and operating biosecured facilities for swine, poultry and aquaculture production and processing facilities, or establishment of CP Fresh Shop (meat shops) and Five Star stations for roasted and fried chicken.
“We would like to witness more partnerships — similar to that of CPFP and LandBank — among agribusiness firms, government, and commercial lending institutions, FCAs, and MSMES, including local government units and foreign investors to help massively increase food production, at the same time provide farmers, fishers ruralfolk and their families more incomes, and ensure food security for all our countrymen,” the DA chief added.
He also noted that were it not for the African Swine Fever (ASF), which pulled down the hog and livestock subsector’s performance in the last two years, the country’s agriculture sector would have grown by at least three percent annually.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) estimated that due to ASF the country’s hog population was reduced by 25 percent, from 12 million in January 2019 to nine million by 2020. Last year, the national hog inventory inched up to 9.7 million head, as twin efforts to manage and contain ASF, and hog repopulation program started to bear fruit.
In particular, Secretary Dar cited CPFP as it helped produce an additional 350,000 fatteners in 2021 from its network of contract growers, and 600,000 more this year.
In support to the DA’s hog repopulation initiative, the CPFP has committed to engage more clustered backyard and commercial hog raisers, and FCAs into a contract growing scheme, at an initial 300-hog module program.
“I want to express my sincerest gratitude and thanks to Secretary Dar and the DA family for trusting us to spearhead this project towards the recovery of the Philippine swine industry,” said CPFP Vice Chair Sakol Cheewakoset.
He added that with the company’s expertise and technological know-how, they can mutually share their knowledge to help boost a sustainable production and source of income for Filipino farmers, fisherfolk and agri-entrepreneurs.
CPFP manages several state-of-the art and bio-secured swine breeding and production facilities in Isabela and other areas in the country, including poultry and aquaculture production and processing facilities. In the Philippines, CPFP is led by Udomsak Aksornphakdee.
Aside from hog repopulation, Secretary Dar identified the Central Luzon Region, particularly Bataan, as pilot area for shrimp production.
Thus, he instructed respective DA Central Luzon and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Regional Directors Crispulo Bautista and Wilfredo Cruz to work with CPFP to establish model clustered swine and aquaculture farms, that would benefit more small farmers, fisherfolk, and their families.
“Let’s continue to have this inclusivity principle, so we that more farmers and fisherfolk will gain more income and become prosperous,” Secretary Dar said.
For her part, LandBank President Cecilia Borromeo said: “We welcome this partnership to advance the competitiveness of swine, poultry, and aqua industry players nationwide, and meet the growing domestic demands. Toward this goal, the LandBank is ready to extend accessible credit and technical assistance to your network of clustered farmers’ and fishers’ groups, cooperatives, and even micro, small, and medium enterprises, and other agri-enterprises.”
She added that the partnership will serve as an avenue to reach more farmers in the countryside who need of bio-secured facilities and equipment to protect the farm animals from ASF and other diseases.
She said that under LandBank’s Special Window and Interim Support to Nurture Hog Enterprises (SWINE) lending program, they have approved P2.36-billion (B) worth of loans to 11 MSMEs and eight large corporations by end of 2021. And they are processing loan applications worth P2.92B. This is on top of the P19.5B approved loans for 296 hog growers under LandBank’s regular lending program.
“We will seize every opportunity that will support the Duterte government’s hog repopulation program. Let us continue to work and partner with one another to revive the industry,” Secretary Dar said.
This year, the DA has allotted a P4-billion budget to support the twin hog repopulation and “Bantay ASF sa Barangay” program.
By 2023, the DA targets to produce 440,563 breeders and 10.5 million finishers under its hog repopulation program, in partnership with commercial and clustered backyard hog raisers, local government units (LGUs) and state universities and colleges (SUCs).
To help bankroll the hog repopulation program, the DA, through its Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), has allotted P800M for lending to backyard and semi-commercial raisers in ASF green zones.
In addition, LandBank and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) have allotted P30B and P12B, respectively, for lending to commercial raisers in ASF-free areas. ### (Kristel Merle, DA-AFID)