MANILA -- Fresh from the recovery of their profit during the holiday season, pork vendors face renewed worry following the reemergence of the African swine fever (ASF) that might drastically affect their sales again.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Friday confirmed that some processed pork products displayed at the meat section of a grocery in Quezon City tested positive for ASF last Dec. 19.
Lourdes Bututana, who sells meat at Kamuning Public Market in Quezon City, said customers have been immediately wary of pork products.
She frets a repeat of her experience last year after the ASF scare drove customers away from pork, resulting in less profits for her.
"Maapektuhan kami lahat dito. Nu'ng nakaraan, nu'ng sinabi nilang ganyan 'yung baboy, wala talagang namimili," Lourdes said.
Farming, fisheries and livestock interest group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) said the recent report on ASF has yet to affect the price of pork products.
SINAG chairman Rosendo So said prices have been normalizing since December, with a farmgate price of about P100 per kilo.
"Nakita namin nag-normalize 'yung bilihan ng consumer dahil very strict ang government, kagaya niyan, 'pag may nakita, suspended. Ibig sabihin, talagang mino-monitor 'yung mga outlet kung ito ay ASF-free," So said Sunday.
So said DA's discovery of ASF-affected products is a "positive sign" of strict inspection of both processed and frozen meat products.
As of Saturday, pork meats are being sold at Kamuning Public Market at P180 per kilo, up by P10 from Friday's price.
Customer Nora Evangelista is unperturbed by the recent reports, saying she still trusts the processing and inspection of pork products.
"Safe naman po kasi nakikita naman namin na may nagche-check po," she said. "Kasi 'yung mga bata, hinahanap din po nila 'yung karne."
In La Loma district, a popular hub for producing lechon or roast suckling pig, lechoneros assured processing is strict for the native pigs they import from Quezon province and Visayas region.
Ramon Ferrero, president of La Loma Lechoneros Association, could only hope that the new reports on ASF won't affect the demand until the feast for Sto. Niño in Tondo, Manila.
"Sa La Loma, I assure them na 99 percent, napakaayos ng mga baboy sa La Loma," Ferrero said.
"Sa Quezon province, may quarantine area sila na kinakailangan dumaan sila do'n, inisprayhan sila. 'Pag dating dito sa Maynila, iniisprayhan pa rin ng barangay namin dito."