Iwas ASF: Davao hog growers seek tighter check on pork entry
DAVAO CITY — Davao Region’s hog farmers have appealed for a concerted effort to protect the region’s livestock industry from the threats of African Swine Fever (ASF).
“We need the help of everybody to protect the industry,” said Eduardo So, president of the Southern Mindanao Agri Resources Trading, Inc. during a media forum on Wednesday here.
So, who is also president of the Hog Farmers Association of Davao Region, called on relevant government agencies to make the inspection tighter, especially of meat products coming into the city and to other parts of Mindanao.
“We still do not see the urgency of work on the ground and we want that be done as soon as possible considering the fact that our island is free from the ASF and our meat is safe to eat,” he said.
So said the media reports about ASF in recent weeks have led to a noticeable decrease in sales of pork products, prompting the industry to wage an information campaign to dispel the rumors.
He said the information and education campaign seeks to raise public awareness on ASF, as well as to teach backyard growers on the proper way of growing hogs.
While they don’t want to “scare the public,” he said it was their duty to protect the industry and educate the consumers because “once it (ASF) hits the island, it will be devastating with 70 percent mortality rate.”
In one farm alone, So said the loses in terms of sales would be about 400 pigs monthly.
So said the association’s current inventory numbers about 200,000 heads covering 17 commercial growers, and does not include the figure from the backyard growers.
Of their total production, 40 percent goes outside of Mindanao, mostly in the Visayas “because live hogs are no longer allowed in Manila, except by cuts. The other 60 percent goes to the different markets on the island.”
“We hope everybody would help us advocate our message. Help us save the hog industry in Mindanao by preventing infected meat to come into the island,” he said.
He also said that they have asked legislative bodies of different key cities in Mindanao to come up with local initiatives to prevent ASF, especially on the monitoring aspect.
Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture in Davao Region (DA-11) assured that they have strengthened their security measures on the seaports and airports, which can be a possible entry of contaminated meat products.
Dr. Armie Capuyan, DA-11 ASF focal person, said in a separate press briefing on Wednesday that the agency is in constant coordination with various local government units and private sectors to intensify their security measures.
“We have coordinated with them as well as the veterinary quarantine services in seaports and airports to strictly apply security measures. Apart from that, we have intensified the conduct of disease and surveillance monitoring for Region 11,” Capuyan said.
“We also conducted an intensive education communication campaign to the public especially on the swine raisers both for commercial and backyard,” she added.
However, Capuyan made it clear that there is no reported ASF related case in Davao Region and assured Dabawenyos that the city is safe from ASF.