Hog raisers urged to fight ASF virus

HOG raisers in Pinamungajan, Cebu were advised to practice safe and sustainable pig farming to protect their pigs from the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak that is now present in 20 countries, including China.

At least 200 people were briefed about ASF Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, at the municipal gym of Pinamungajan. The ASF information drive was in collaboration between the town’s local government and Central Visayas Pork Producer Cooperative (Cevippco) through Excelsior Farms Inc. The PIC Philippines and Cargill Philippines also supported the event.

Pinamungajan Vice Mayor Richard Canilio said it is important that everyone in their municipality knows what ASF is and how each one can help protect the local hog industry from it, especially that hog raising is one of the town’s main livelihood.

The town has at least three large farms, namely Excelsior Farms Inc., Lamac Multipurpose Cooperative and BL Pangan Farm.

“In every barangay, we have a lot of backyard farmers,” said Canilio.

Pinamungajan is one of the municipalities in Cebu that has been identified to have many hog raisers. In fact at least 80 people who attended the seminar were raising hogs at from three to 12 heads in the backyard.

“This is a major industry that is a main source of income of many of our people here. That is why we will really be active in making more people aware about ASF and how it can be prevented. We’ll activate our barangay committee on agriculture to help us reach more farmers, especially those that were not able to attend,” said Canilio.

Cebu is the fourth largest producer of pork in the country and the largest in Central Visayas. The local pork industry is valued at P11 billion with a total consumption of 64 million kilos, of which 85 percent or 53 million kilos are produced locally.

“Given these figures, we could say that Cebu’s hog industry is really huge and we need to protect it from diseases like ASF because its impact will really be felt in the local economy, especially since about 150,000 families are directly dependent on the industry,” said Kenneth Dean, sales manager of Excelsior Farms.

In his presentation, Dean stressed the need to implement biosecurity measures in farms to prevent the spread of ASF or any diseases that will affect the livestock.

He also encouraged the pig farmers to practice strict quarantine measures by not bringing in any pork and pork related products from any of the ASF infected countries, as one measure.

The Department of Agriculture has banned pork products from countries like Belgium, Bulgaria, China, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, Zambia, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, and North Korea.

Dean also clarified that ASF does not affect human beings so there is no need to worry about eating pork.

But he warned, that if the ASF virus enters the country and hits one area, the virus will spread like wildfire, causing death to all the pigs in the area.

“What does it mean if ASF virus hits us? It will mean supply shortage, thus driving prices high, unemployment or worse higher crime rate. We don’t want that to happen,” he said.

In a CNN report, ASF has wiped out a third of China’s pig population. Now government officials are discussing dramatic steps to stabilize the world’s largest pork market. China had lost more than 100 million pigs in 2018. (KOC with PR)


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