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KABAYAN, Benguet– Agriculture Secretary Willam Dar recently approved the recommendation of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) to declare the municipality free from the African Swine Fever (ASF) after no ASF infestation was reported among local hog raisers for over a year now.
Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Miriam Tiongan disclosed that with the aforesaid declaration, Kabayan is the first municipality in Northern Luzon to be declared as ASF-free that will pave the way for local hog raisers to be able to add up to their current stocks of pigs and for concerned government agencies to help in the repopulation of pigs to beef up and stabilize the prices of pork products in the province.
However, she admitted that the declaration of Kabayan as ASF-free is not a guarantee that the animal virus will not infect the current hog population in the locality, thus, the need for hog raisers to continue to abide by the prevailing BAI-security protocols to prevent another ASF outbreak in the municipality.
Earlier, the towns of Sablan, Tuba, La Trinidad, Itogon, Bokod, Tublay, Atok, Buguias and Mankayan reported ASF cases since the outbreak of the virus among hogs last year while Bakun, Kapangan and Kibungan remain to be ASF-free to date.
The provincial veterinarian advised local hog raisers to ensure that the pigs they are purchasing come from ASF-free areas and for the same to appropriately comply with the established quarantine procedures.
Further, she called on residents to make sure that the pork products they are purchasing have passed through the stringent inspection by concerned government agencies prior to the sale of the same in commercial establishments.
Tiongan expressed hope that the other municipalities will be able to flow the gains of Kabayan in the campaign to rid their areas of jurisdiction from the ASF virus so that local hog raisers will be able to bring back the vibrance of their business, especially that the demand for live pigs is expected to significantly increase with the fast approaching yuletide season and the election period that is expected to run through up to the middle of next year.
While there was only a single case of ASF that was recorded in the municipality last year, Tiongan stipulated that it caused a heavy impact to the local hog industry because hogs that were raised within the prescribed radius were depopulated and it took some time for them to be able to raise hogs but the same was on a limited basis until the situation shall have normalized.
She asserted that local hog raisers should not mix with their old stocks the new pigs that they will purchase and for them to allow their pigs to undergo the so-called quarantine for at least one month before allowing the same to be mixed with their stocks so as not to trigger the recurrence of the virus among the local hog population.
Tiongan revealed that the declaration of Kabayan as ASF-free took some time to be issued as the same had to undergo the stringent process of validation and assessment by experts from the BAI to ascertain the veracity of the fact that there were no more ASF cases in the municipality over the past several months. By HENT