Looming swine disaster

BIOSECURITY. Two men unload hogs from a truck in front of a livestock enclosure stall in Agdao Public Market in Davao City. The Davao City Council has filed a resolution on Tuesday pushing for the banning of the importation of pork from African Swine Fever affected areas as a precautionary measure against the disease. (Macky Lim)

AN ESTIMATED P80 billion will be lost in the hog industry if the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus enters the island of Mindanao, a hog farmers’ group said.

Hog Farmers Association of Davao Inc. president Eduardo So Wednesday, September 18, said that while Mindanao is still safe from ASF, he said cooperation between the government and the hog raisers must be strengthened as it will have a huge economic impact in the industry and the consumers.

“We need to survive (this outbreak). We are talking of an industry wherein P80 billion will be lost from Mindanao, P20 billion in Davao Region. Dako siya nga pahak sa atong industry (It will be a big loss for our industry),” So said during the 1st Mindanao Hog Raisers’ Forum organized by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa) and his association.

He said the recently-passed resolution of the 19th Davao City Council urging City Mayor of Davao to temporarily ban all swine products from Luzon, is needed to ensure that the virus will not reach the city.

So, however, said the temporary ban will not affect the hog industry since the island is self-sufficient in terms of pork production.

“Ang Mindanao is a total net output, meaning naa ta sobra ginagawas sa Mindanao as a whole. Kita gasupply sa Manila. Usahay sa Visayas kung naa ta sobra. Sufficient ta pag-abot sa production (Mindanao is a total net output, meaning we have excess supply as a whole. We are able to meed the demands in Mindanao. Sometimes, we supply in Visayas when there are excess. We are sufficient in terms of production),” he said.

He also said the temporary ban will not cause a price surge in pork products, adding that it is also an opportunity for local producers to have their products patronized.

Although the Department of Agriculture (DA) 11 and the City Veterinarian’s Office (CVO) had not reported any ASF-related death in the city, he said hograisers should not disregard the information campaigns of the government.

“Medyo lisod ang recovery period ani once na makasulod na ni siya. Basin in the future, magduha-duha na ang mga businessmen na mu-invest ani nga industry (The recovery period is difficult once it will reach the city. Maybe in the future, businessmen would think twice in investing in this industry),” So said.

Meanwhile, Minda chairman and Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, during the forum held at Grand Men Seng Hotel, said that while the government is serious in addressing the ASF-scare, he called the public and the hog industry to cooperate and help in preventing the virus to reach the island.

“I urge all of you to share your brightest ideas. We have to save whatever is left to be saved. If you could save Mindanao and Visayas from this looming disaster, let’s do this,” Piñol said.


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