THE Department of Agriculture (DA)-Central Visayas will conduct a random sampling at the slaughterhouses in its jurisdiction for surveillance of African swine fever (ASF) and strengthen the border control of the entry of meat products and hogs to the ports in the region.
This, after one confirmed case of ASF was detected in Abuyog, Leyte of Eastern Visayas on January 13, 2021.
Dr. Daniel Ventura, the focal person of ASF in DA, said they have convened with the local government units (LGUs) on the measures that they will observe to prevent ASF from penetrating the region.
He said they will strengthen the border control points of the ports on the entry of the hogs or pork products from traders coming into the region.
He said only the Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas and Mimaropa regions remain ASF-free.
However, Ventura said when the Cebu Provincial Government banned the entry of hogs from Mindanao, Region 8 was included although there were still no cases reported at the time.
Aside from border control, Ventura said in the coming days or months, they will conduct a random sampling of the hogs in the slaughterhouses of LGUs.
This way, Ventura said they will be able to ensure that the hogs in the slaughterhouses in Region 7 are healthy and ASF-free.
Ventura said they will also intensify their information drive on the biosecurity protocol that should be made known to all, from farmers to consumers.
Considering that Ormoc and Abuyog, Leyte have declared a lockdown on the entry and transport of hogs in their area, Ventura said it is also one way of protecting Central Visayas.
However, Ventura said they cannot assure that only Abuyog has the ASF since the mortalities of the hogs started in December 2020 and it was found out only recently that it was due to ASF.
As for the supply, he said there is nothing to worry about since the supply in Central Visayas is sufficient for the local demand.
Aside from the measures implemented by the DA, Ventura said they will appeal to the traders, growers and consumers.
For the traders, he advised them to cooperate with their LGU’s veterinarian and the DA in transporting their hogs and pork products and they must be registered with the DA.
He said traders must secure a disinfection certificate and disinfect the vehicle used for transporting before and after use.
For the growers, he said they need to follow the minimum biosecurity measures such as changing of clothes and footwear before and after visiting the hog farm.
He said the growers must also make sure that the source of the feeds is clean since feeds can be a carrier of ASF.
Ventura said consumers must be vigilant in buying pork products and avoid those coming from regions with ASF.
He said consumers must patronize local products as Central Visayas is still ASF-free. (KFD)