GenSan hog farm workers losing jobs due to ASF scare

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GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Several hog farms here have reportedly laid off workers due to mounting losses as a result of the declining sales in the wake of the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak in Davao Region.

Dr. Antonio Ephrem Marin, head of the City Veterinary Office (CVO), said Thursday local hog producers reported huge losses in the last three weeks mainly due to reduced or failed deliveries to the markets.

Marin said the problem was triggered by the limited movement of live hogs and pork products from the city, which came after a number of local government units implemented lockdowns because of the ASF scare.

“Our hog producers already lost some of their traditional market destinations like Leyte,” Marin said in an interview.

The official was unable to provide specific figures on the reported layoffs but said they are currently conducting a profiling of the local hog industry’s workforce.

Citing preliminary data, Marin said more than 2,000 workers could eventually lose their jobs if the problem persists and in the event the disease would reach the area.

With the city’s hog population currently at around 457,000 heads, he said an ASF outbreak in the area could displace around 2,285 direct workers.

Marin said they already coordinated with the City Social Welfare and Development Office for contingencies for workers facing job loss.
The city government earlier pushed for the implementation of standard regulations on the movement of live hogs and pork products to ensure the continuous trading of products in areas that remain unaffected by the outbreak. It also asked the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to look into the matter and help protect the hog industry.

Marin said members of the South Cotabato Swine Producers Association are currently working on the holding of dialogues with various local government units in Mindanao to address the problem.

He added that the group has asked South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. to bring up the matter to other members of the League of Provinces of the Philippines, especially those in the Caraga Region. -PNA

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