CEBU CITY – The Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 (Central Visayas) is pushing for the repopulation of hogs in the region as the African swine fever (ASF) continues to hurt the industry.
DA Undersecretary for Livestock William Medrano on Friday emphasized the importance of biosecurity measures to address the threat of ASF in Central Visayas.
In a press statement, Medrano urged the cooperation of agriculture stakeholders in various DA programs positioned to address the most pressing issues facing the hog industry.
These programs include the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (INSPIRE) or hog repopulation and the Bantay ASF sa Barangay (BABay ASF).
He said the programs aim for the repopulation and recovery of the hog industry to ensure the availability and affordability of pork products.
Aside from biosecurity measures against ASF, financial assistance is also being pushed through the DA’s Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC).
Medrano explained that to encourage backyard and semi-commercial raisers in ASF-free areas to return to hog fattening, the DA, through the ACPC, is offering loan programs with zero interest rates and payable within three to five years.
Executive director of DA-7, lawyer Salvador Diputado, said the programs are being pursued by the DA in partnership with the private sector and local government units in Central Visayas to address issues on pork supply, especially in Metro Manila.
Last March 18, the DA formally recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte to put the country in a state of emergency due to ASF.
In a memorandum, the department said the ASF has spread to 12 regions, 40 provinces, 466 cities and municipalities, and 2,425 barangays, noting that more than “three million heads of pig have been lost due to the disease, causing a contraction in pork supply and an unprecedented increase in the price of basic agricultural commodities.”
Moreover, a declaration of a state of emergency would “mandate and capacitate concerned government agencies, including the local government units, to work together to prevent and control the further spread of ASF.” (PNA)