Lechon party amid ASF scare

(Photo by Macky Lim)
(Photo by Macky Lim)

IN ORDER to regain the trust from its consumers amid the African Swine Fever (ASF), a group of meat vendors in Davao City spearheaded a free tasting of lechon (roasted pig) to guarantee the public that all pork products sold in the city is, by far, “ASF-free”.

On Wednesday, March 4, pork meat vendors of the Bankerohan Public Market, the biggest market in the city, partnered with the Department of Agriculture-Davao Region (DA-Davao), different hog raisers association, and other concerned agencies, in organizing the free-tasting event.

This came after more than a month since the hog virus entered the city despite preventive measures.

At present, villages Dominga, Lamanan, and Inayangan of Calinan District are under quarantine zone after samples taken from hogs in these areas were confirmed to be infected with ASF.

Davao City Public Vendors Federation president Eden Guira said meat vendors in the entire city lost 60 percent in revenue since the ASF virus entered the city.

“Dako kaayo ang epekto niini, dili lang sa amoa mga meat vendors, pati napud sa mga ga-slaughter sa mga baboy (It affects not only us, meat vendors, but also the butchers),” Guira said.

She said they organized the free-tasting event to show to the public that pork in the city is safe for consumption.

With this, she said the whole meat vendor community hopes that they will be able to regain the “100-percent trust” of the consumers, and that they will be able to cope with their losses.

Bankerohan Public Market has a total of 240 pork meat vendors who said in a chance interview among the majority their patrons became hesitant to buy pork when the ASF outbreak started last year.

Ramon, who requested to withhold his name, said some of his fellow vendors are even considering closing their stalls for the meantime while the virus has not been fully contained.

DA-Davao Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Information Section chief Noel Provido said the event is part of their collaborative effort in saving the hog industry from huge revenue losses.

He said the event is also a “solidarity move” in informing the public that meat vendors are the ones who are highly affected brought about the ASF-scare.

“It’s good nga naa kita’y activity kay pinaka-unang kalaban, according to the private sector, is the fear of the consumer (It’s good that we have this kind of activity as according to the private sector, one of the factors as to why the hog industry struggled is due to the fear of the consumer),” Provido said.

Despite series of information drives through different mediums, the DA official said consumers are still misinformed about the virus’ transmission.

Provido emphasized that a meat contaminated with ASF is not harmful to humans.

He also encouraged the public to continue patronizing buying pork products, provided that they are compliant with the standards provided by DA.

Barangay 5-A Captain Edgar Ibuyan Sr., who was present during the gathering, said most of the vendors had asked his help as they are losing their patrons.

Ibuyan also said since the pork importation was banned starting last month, they are also struggling to meet their supply demands.

He added they are also asking the government to “lower down” the strict measures.

“Apektado gyud sila. Pero ako gisulti sa ila nga nagaprotekta lang man atong siyudad (They were highly affected. However, I told them the city government is just taking precautionary measures from further spreading the virus in the city premises),” the barangay official said.

He also urged the vendors to lay down their concerns to the local government.

A forum, organized by DA-Davao, followed right after the “boodle fight”. (RGL)


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