THE Department of Agriculture (DA)–Philippine Council on Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) will look into the implementation of cluster zoning for Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao after the avian influenza (AI) outbreak earlier this year.

In a statement on the official website of DA, agriculture secretary Manny Piñol said the slower production of the poultry sector can be attributed to the AI outbreak.

“Despite the slower production growth on the performance of agriculture and fisheries sector by 2.32 percent on the third quarter compared to last year’s 2.98 percent, we are optimistic that we will hit our target until the end of the year,” Piñol said.

He added DA PCAF will be conducting consultative meetings with the livestock and poultry stakeholders in order to review the protocols of DA relating to the outbreak of AI and the procedures for future handling of the same cases in case it would happen again.

In an earlier report, Davao Poultry and Egg Producers Inc. (DEPI) president lawyer Lalaine dela Victoria said a separate zone for Mindanao will lessen misunderstanding.

“We would want to push the policy that Mindanao will be created as a different zone from the two islands, Luzon and Visayas so that, if example there is an outbreak in Luzon, Mindanao will be another zone that they would not just declare the ban in Luzon and the rest of the Philippines. We would want to create three zones in the Philippines so that Mindanao will have its own zoning policies here and then we can cordon the island in case of diseases,” she said.

Piñol also said the P100 million worth of funding assistance committed to the farmers of Pampanga that were affected of the AI outbreak had already been released through the DA Regional Field Unit III.