Philippines soon to be declared totally foot-and-mouth disease-free

Public domain photograph of various meats. (Be...Image via WikipediaA March 17, 2011 press release by the Department of Agriculture

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala is optimistic that the Philippines will soon be declared entirely as free from the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) by the World Organization for Animal Health or Office International des Epizooties (OIE).

With such favorable OIE declaration—expected to be
formalized in May during the 79th General Session of the World Assembly of OIE Delegates in France—the country will favorably gain a foothold in the global meat market, particularly exports of pork and poultry meat products.

One opportunity is exports of Philippine pork products to South Korea, where there is a currently an FMD outbreak. That country’s pork production is expected to decline by 760,000 metric tons or one-third of previous total 2011 estimates. Sec. Alcala hopes to capture a segment of the South Korean pork market until it recovers from the FMD outbreak.

He expressed such optimism during the 41st General Assembly and Election of Officers of the Lipa City Multi-Purpose Cooperative Marketing Association (LIMCOMA) at Lipa City, Batangas, March 12, 2011.

He commended hundreds of Limcoma members, mostly farmers and hog raisers, for their strong spirit of cooperativism, which is worth emulating by other farmers, livestock raisers and rural folk all over the country.

He said the DA will strongly support farmers, livestock and poultry raisers, fishers, fruit and vegetable dealers who will follow the footsteps of LIMCOMA. Currently, it is one of the largest cooperatives in the country, engaged in several food supply chain enterprises, from corn production, feed milling, swine raising, slaughterhouse operation, pork processing, and meat shop and market operation.

It prides itself for the first fully automated or computerized feedmill in Southeast Asia imported from the Netherlands. It has also invested in a 97-foot twin silo facility that can store up to 3,000 tons of corn, and a pelleting machine that can produce up to 20 tons of pellet feeds per hour.

In 2010, the cooperative earned a total of P23.7 million from its various enterprises.

For their efforts, the DA further boosted the cooperative’s swine breeding and raising operations by sharing several head of breeder boars and 100 piglets.

He thanked the general assembly for the opportunity to touch-base, and reassured them that this was part of the marching orders issued to him by President Benigno Aquino III to restore public trust and confidence in the Department.

He also enjoined the cooperative to further improve its slaughterhouse and meat shop operations to produce more quality and affordable pork products to consumers in Batangas, nearby provinces and Metro Manila.