The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Western Visayas, with its attached agencies, partners from private organizations, and hog raisers’ associations, continue to strengthen its effort to prohibit the entry of African swine fever in the region.
The agency has taken the serious lead in measures against the spread of ASF.
It has heightened the border restrictions, quarantine, and disinfection measures in all ports of entry in the whole region.
DA-6 has involved state universities, the private sector, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Local Government Units (LGUs) in the implementation of ASF prevention and control through the P4 approach- Person (logistic and manpower support), Programme (ASF Prevention and Control), Pesos (Funding), and Proclamation (relevant ordinances).
DA-6 regional director Remelyn Recoter consistently calls out for continuous collaboration of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and municipal agriculturists from the provinces in the region.
Hog raisers must be informed about the threats of ASF and lobby for ordinances that shall monitor the transactions of pork products and strict compliance to bio-security measures.
“We cannot compromise the P20 billion hog industry of Western Visayas. Local government units are advised to make their amended bans on pork and pork-based products,” Recoter pointed out.
As of October 2021, the efforts have gained results as a total of 35 local ordinances institutionalizing the engagement of LGUs is the strict compliance monitoring against the entry of ASF has been passed.
Moreover, the agency has trained 132 Barangay Biosecurity Officers (BBO) and Geotagging Information System (GIS) for six provinces. All provinces are submitting ASF negative incidence reports.
The agency has procured two units of RT-PCR machines and is testing an average of 290 samples in a week.
Consecutive confiscations of pork products identified taken from ASF-infected regions in the Philippines and countries were executed by provincial veterinarians (ProVet) offices.
Aklan’s intensified campaign against African swine fever (ASF) confiscated 730 kilograms and 56 Kilograms of assorted processed meat products from Manila shown at the Caticlan Port in April and November 2021, respectively.
The ProVet burned the seized goods after the supplier failed to reship the items to their point of origin.
The province of Iloilo recently confiscated about seven kilograms of frozen pork products and strictly reminded the public about the existing Provincial Ordinance 2021-250 (ASF Prevention Ordinance).
Meanwhile, the province of Negros Occidental, from January up to October of this year, has confiscated about P1.2 million worth of pork products transported from Luzon and Mindanao seized from airports, seaports, and terminals in the province.
The province of Antique has set a consultative meeting with representatives of cargo/couriers service providers in the province after consecutive confiscations of pork products from Luzon have been reported.
Recently, they burned a significant number of canned goods believed to have been contaminated with ASF.
One of the largest traders of hogs in the region is the Sibalom Livestock and Poultry Raisers Association (SILPRA).
Amidst the pandemic and the threat of African swine fever, SILPRA was able to shield its industry by educating its over 400 members on the importance of strict biosecurity measures. SILPRA was able to link its hog raisers to guaranteed markets in Metro Manila.
During the last quarter in 2020, the consolidated trade amounted to P12 million.
This year, SILPRA manages to ship an average of 5,000 hogs per week to Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon.
To sustain the operation, the DA-WV Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division granted the association with P500,000 financial assistance for the hauling and shipment of hogs and the P3.9 million Japan 2KR project for Livestock Oksyon Market (LOM) for livestock marketing and consolidation activities.
A P7.5 million worth of Feed Mill Project from BAI helped the hog industry in Antique.
Meanwhile, Tribu Uma Hog Growers, Traders and Agent Association (Tuhog-Panay) also join the upbeat trading of hog shipments to the National Capital Region.
In July 2021, the association shipped over 320 hogs, or a total of six truckloads, from Iloilo to Metro Manila as its first successful hog trading with the help of the DA Western Visayas and the LGU Lambunao.
Over 500 hogs are now continuously being shipped to Manila and nearby provinces every week.
DA-WV recorded 254,452 hogs sent to Luzon and neighboring regions as of August 2021.
In September 2021, the provincial government of Iloilo reported that an average of 10,000 live hogs is being shipped to Luzon every month.
The agency is serious about educating the masses on the adverse effects of ASF.
A joint effort of the Regional Agriculture Fisheries and Information Sections (RAFIS), Regulatory Division, Regional ASF Task Force, DA-WV Livestock Program, Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), and the Office of the Regional Executive Director (ORED) has been executed.
RAFIS has produced 15 episodes of ASF Istoryahan’ ta aired over DA-WV official social media page.
The efforts generated thousands of viewers during the live broadcast and replays. The agency utilized several creative materials such as radio drama, infographics, digital flyers, and podcasts to popularize the ASF issue.
It likewise distributed over 2,000 printed flyers on ASF to local farmer groups.
Regional information caravans highlighted ASF updates and spelled out opportunities for hog raisers through the rehabilitation, recovery, and repopulation (R3) loan programs.
Regional ASF Task Force hosted two virtual national capability building for task force members, private sector representatives, and hog raisers on the first and second quarters of the year. The virtual gathering emphasized the sharing of detection and prevention measures of ASF in various regions.
The seriousness of the issue is also lobbied to the Regional Agricultural and Fisheries Council (RAFC) agenda to gain more hog raisers’ cooperation in strengthening their biosecurity measures.
The Regional ASF Task Force also partnered with the Iloilo-Bacolod Association of Veterinary Sales Representatives (IBAVS) in the awareness campaign.
A regionwide motorcade and symposia were materialized to showcase the association’s support to hog raisers, and they are one with the region in keeping the region free from the dreaded ASF.*