THE GOVERNMENT is considering giving an insurance subsidy for commercial hog raisers, who have been affected by the prolonged outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the country.

In a briefing on Tuesday, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles said they are studying giving a 50% insurance subsidy to hog raisers in an effort to boost production and increase supply.

He said the proposed subsidy will be sourced from the Quick Response Fund (QRF) of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

“This is just one initiative being considered to help our hog farmers increase supplies,” Mr. Nograles said.

Commercial hog raisers have been struggling as the ASF outbreak reduced the supply of hogs, which in turn pushed pork prices higher.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte early this month signed an executive order imposing price caps on selected pork and poultry products in Metro Manila for 60 days, on the DA’s recommendation.

However, many traders and vendors have decided to go on a “pork holiday,” closing their stalls in protest of the price caps.

Ikatlong linggo pa lang ng implementation ng price cap, marami na ang nagsasarang tindahan at ang kababayan natin na nawawalan ng kita (This is the third week of the implementation of the price cap, and many stalls have closed and many have lost their income). Clearly, imposing these price ceilings has only worsened our food crisis,” Senator Risa N. Hontiveros-Baraquel said in a statement.

She said the DA should consider more feasible approaches to lower food prices, such as expanding the number of hog raisers and suppliers covered by the insurance program of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).

Senator Francis N. Pangilinan last week called for adequate government support after the DA reported that backyard and farm hog raisers lost P56 billion due to the ASF.

Hog raisers from the southern Philippine island of Mindanao have been shipping live hogs and frozen meat to the capital to tame soaring meat prices. — K.A.T. Atienza