A pork stall at a roadside market stall in Manila on March 14.

The Philippines expects a deficit of 400,000 metric tons of pork this year or a quarter of its requirement due to the African swine fever, the Department of Agriculture said, as it pushed for more imports.

Local pork supply will likely reach 1.23 million metric tons, not enough to meet the countrys requirement of about 1.62 million metric tons, the agency said in a statement Thursday.

A farm worker pours feed into a pen at a pig farm in Batangas City, the Philippines, on March 14.

Photographer: Veejay Villafranca/Bloomberg

As many as 1.9 million hogs were lost due to the disease, or about 15% of the inventory last year, the department said, citing government data. Hog raisers have a higher estimate of 12.7 million, it said.

The agriculture department has proposed the lowering of tariff and the increase in pork

imports. Early this year, it

capped the prices of pork and chicken amid rising costs.

The pork supplys severe shortage cannot be immediately responded to by local production because of the current ASF pandemic, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said. We will need to resort to importation.

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