203 Cordillera barangays affected by African Swine Fever

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BAGUIO CITY – Some two hundred three barangays in the Cordillera had been affected by the dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF) over the past two years.

Dr. Cameron Odsey, regional director of the Cordillera office of the Department of Agriculture (DA-CAR), disclosed that the said number of ASF-infected barangays is 16 percent of the 1,178 barangays in the region.

He added that for this year alone, some PhP 247.5 million had been earmarked by the agency for the ongoing swine production feed assistance program towards the realization of the government’s swine repopulation program that will bring back the stability of supply and prices of pork in the local markets.

The DA-CAR official claimed that of the ASF-infected barangays, there are 46 infected zones, 12 protected zones and 19 buffer zones.

According to him, appropriate depopulation had already been conducted in the identified ASF-infected barangays in the region while disinfection had already been completed in the hog farms where the ASF-infected pigs had been discovered.

Odsey claimed that the various provincial veterinary offices, in close coordination with their counterparts in the agriculture department, are closely monitoring the presence of ASF in their respective areas of jurisdiction to prevent outbreaks that might derail the ongoing efforts of the government to recover from the effect of the animal infestation to the hog population of the region and the stability of the supply and prices of pork in the local markets.

On the other hand, the DA-CAR extended financial and technical assistance to the livestock raisers heavily impacted by the dreaded animal virus, especially in the repopulation of their hog farms, to help them recover and bring back the vibrance of the local hog industry in their respective places.

African Swine Fever (ASF) is a deadly and contagious disease that has been lowering pork production, devastating peoples’ incomes and causing malnutrition. It has spread across continents from Africa to Europe, and most recently, to Asia and Southeast Asia.

This disease affects all wild and domestic pigs. Though ASF does not spread to humans, it has killed pigs used in backyard and commercial farms throughout the globe. Specifically, African Swine Fever in the Philippines has become a threat to more and more regions. As of July 2019, ASF has spread to Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Luzon and Mindanao.

The effects of African swine fever are already appearing as losses in the Philippines’ farms. As the disease spread throughout the Philippines from 2019 to 2021, the area lost nearly $20 million a month. Both pork and chicken are the top consumed meats, but pork is the top consumed meat in the country. In 2020, the average Philippines citizen ate 14.9 kilograms of pork compared to 13.74 kilograms of chicken. Many Filipino dishes use pork for primary protein.

In 2021, African Swine Fever in the Philippines has increased the risk for poverty for many households after the disease killed pig deaths nationwide. Today it is “one of the most important animal health crises” due to the great social impact on humans.