Philippine agri chief calls for unity against ASF

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William Dar

Philippine Agriculture Secretary William Dar has called on all pig industry stakeholders and local government units (LGUs) to work with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and employ the ‘whole-of-nation’ approach to defeat ASF. The disease, which first hit the country in 2019, continues to rage.

Speaking at the 1st National Livestock and Poultry Month celebration last week, Mr Dar noted that the partnership between the DA, LGUs, and the industry has resulted in a drop in the number of reported cases, from a high of 3200 affected barangays in August 2019 to only 69 barangays as of September 30.”

He warned, however, that all efforts will be for naught if numerous backyard farmers continue to practice swill feeding and fail to employ biosecurity measures. Moreover, the practice of unscrupulous traders to buy diseased animals and skirt quarantine checkpoints continues.

Programs progress

Mr Dar reported that the implementation of DA’s Bantay ASF sa Barangay and hog repopulation programs are progressing well. The agency’s National Livestock Program targets to declare 500 barangays ASF-free by the yearend, which would qualify them for calibrated hog repopulation next year.

The government’s sentineling program continues, with more than 4800 entinel pigs distributed to over 1300 farmers.

The DA said it continues to work with LGUs to strictly implement monitoring and surveillance protocols against ASF, with the agency providing the technical assistance. It has also provided local governments with veterinary drugs and biologics to limit the spread of ASF and other animal diseases.

It is also ramping up r&d, including the development of ASF rapid test kits and field-testing of ASF vaccines.

He added that the DA “has loosened up credit facilities for our livestock raisers.”

For related stories, please see:
Philippine govt allots USD6m for ASF credit program
Philippine government urges reporting of ASF cases
Philippine govt says ASF areas down

National Livestock Program Director Ruth Sonaco (3rd from left) leads government officials in inspecting a farm that successfully raised sentinel pigs. (Photo credit: Bantay ASF sa Barangay FB page)