The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) said it will take the lead in crafting the national value chain roadmap for pork-based processed products in the Philippines.
This will be part of the five-year regional project titled Agricultural Transformation and Market Integration in the ASEAN Region: Responding to Food Security and Inclusiveness Concerns (ATMI-ASEAN).
The project will focus on priority commodities of ASEAN Member States. For the Philippines and Vietnam,the priority would be pig, while it is corn for Cambodia and Laos. It is pulses for Myanmar.
SEARCA Program Head for Research and Thought Leadership Pedcris Orencio said the national roadmap is intended as a set of strategies, programs, and specific activities that will benefit the stakeholders at all levels of the value chain.
As for the Philippines, the hog industry stakeholders will now have to identify a shared regional vision for the development of their sector, including the role of smallholder agriculture in their upgrade and scaling-up.
Orencio added that such vision will help identify key policies, food safety and quality standards, and opportunities for cooperation in research and development.
These, in turn, will support progress towards achieving an improved policy and regulatory framework at the international level and fostering the policy dialogue on regional food security and market integration.
SEARCA Director Glenn B. Gregorio said the national roadmaps to be crafted starting this month are expected to provide solutions to manage the process of structural transformation of smallholder agriculture and strengthen agriculture's contribution to the competitiveness of Southeast Asian economies.
"This aligns with SEARCA's current focus on academe-industry-government interconnectivity to strengthen agricultural innovations and promote market-driven agribusiness development in the Philippines and the rest of the Southeast Asian region to accelerate structural transformation in the agriculture sector," Gregorio said.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is the focal agency for the development of the national roadmap on pork-based processed products value chain in the country where the monthly per capita consumption of pork is 15 kilograms.
Unfortunately, the supply of pork is in peril amid the existence of African Swine Fever (ASF), a deadly animal disease among swine.
Assistant Secretary Lerey Panes earlier highlighted the importance of the ATMI-ASEAN project, particularly the pioneering value chain study, in revising the country's swine industry and in helping smallholder or backyard hog raisers.
For her part, Imelda Santos, Bureau of Animal Industry's National Veterinary Quarantine Services Division Chief, said during an ATMI-ASEAN roundtable discussion that there has been an upward trend in the country's pig population in 2010 to 2019 and 65 percent of this are from backyard farms, while 35 percent are imported.
Orencio shared that initial policy recommendations of the study, which was conducted by the University of the Philippines Los Baños-College of Economics and Management Alumni Foundation, Inc. (UPLB-CEMAFI) for the ATMI-ASEAN project, include expansion of yellow corn production in light of the technological seed innovation as well as live animal improvement due to improved animal inventory.