THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said that it is set to import breeding animals from the US and Australia to improve and expand the livestock herd.

Special Order No. 1481, signed by Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr., said that the procurement exercise will be led by a selection team from the Bureau of Animal Industry and funded by the National Livestock Program.

In the third quarter, the hog population was 9.86 million head, while cattle numbered 2.59 million, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The DA said that the team will be in charge of animal selection to determine fitness for breeding, and witness the weighing and ear-tagging of the animals.

They will also verify that the animals shipped from both countries are those that they evaluated when they enter quarantine in the Philippines.

“This Special Order shall remain in force until the culmination of the selection period for the animals,” the DA said.

The DA has allocated about P4.35 billion for the National Livestock Program in 2024.

The DA has set a goal of increasing livestock production by five times over the next five years, in order to minimize imports. — Adrian H. Halili