THE INDEMNIFICATION payout for hog farmers with herds affected by African Swine Fever (ASF) has been doubled to P10,000 per animal, to incentivize early reporting of infected hogs, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said in a statement Tuesday that increased payouts by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) will ultimately control ASF, repopulate herds, and stabilize pork prices.

“We are doubling the indemnification payout for every pig that contracts ASF from P5,000 to P10,000. With the increased indemnity, hog raisers are encouraged to report affected pigs, thus controlling the ASF from spreading,” Mr. Dar said.

PCIC President Jovy C. Bernabe said premium-free coverage will be offered to backyard hog raisers, while discounts on premiums will be extended to commercial hog raisers.

“For backyard farmers, the PCIC (normally charges a) 1.75% premium for fatteners and 3.5% for breeders, which are waived. Commercial farmers will pay the same rates, discounted from the regular rates of 2.25% and 4%,” Mr. Bernabe said.

Mr. Bernabe said the insurance policy pays out P10,000 per head for fatteners, P14,500 per head for breeders, and P34,000 per head for parent stock.

He also confirmed that the insurance program will cover local government units and state colleges and universities which run hog fattening and breeding programs.

“The hog farms must be registered with the local government unit, which in turn, must have organized (under) the Bantay ASF sa Barangay surveillance program. Also, their operations must be compliant with the biosecurity Level 1 standards or a level of farm biosecurity in compliance with minimum standards set by the Philippine College of Swine Practitioners (PSCP),” Mr. Bernabe said.

“The provincial and municipal governments that have jurisdiction over the farms of the beneficiaries must have adopted harmonized ordinances relevant to the prevention of ASF. Likewise, the municipal government must implement and regularly update the municipal ASF control and prevention plan, aligned with the initiatives of the DA regional field office,” he added.

DA Spokesman Noel O. Reyes said in a virtual briefing Tuesday that talks are ongoing on whether the department will recommend an extension of the price caps on pork and chicken, which are set to end on April 8.

“We are still studying it. The DA and the Trade Department will announce in the next few days updates regarding the price ceiling,” Mr. Reyes said.

Executive Order (EO) No. 124 was implemented on Feb. 8 that set price controls on pork and chicken products for 60 days.

Under the EO, the market price for pork shoulder (kasim) was capped at P270 per kilogram, pork belly (liempo) at P300 per kilogram, and whole chicken at P160 per kilogram. Retail prices had surpassed P400 per kilogram due to limited supply as a result of the outbreak. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave