Negros Occidental, Cebu on ‘collision course’ over pork ban

Negros Occidental, Cebu on ‘collision course’ over pork ban

BACOLOD CITY – The Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) here has reiterated that Negros Occidental remains free from African swine fever (ASF) after the neighboring Cebu province banned live pigs and pork products from Negros Island last week.

“There’s no reason to prohibit us from bringing in pigs to Cebu because we are a green zone. That’s why Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson is appealing and also our hog raisers to allow them to pass through Cebu going to Leyte, Mindanao and Metro Manila,” Dr. Placeda Lemana, acting provincial veterinarian, said in a radio interview on Monday.

Negros Occidental, which has a PHP6-billion swine industry, is listed as a dark green zone or ASF-free by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Lemana said that according to Cebu province, pigs from Negros supposedly contaminated the hogs in Carcar City, which prompted Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to ban the entry of live hogs, sows, piglets, boar semen, pork, and pork-related products from Negros Island from March 6 to April 5.

“But based on the report of the DA, out of the 149 blood samples taken in Carcar City, 58 turned out positive (for ASF), affecting 11 barangays. It means that in their locality, there is already ASF,” she added.

Along with Bacolod City, the province imposes a total ban on the entry of all live pigs, boar semen, pork, pork products and other pork-related items from Luzon, Mindanao, Eastern Visayas, Panay Island and Guimaras Island, which all have reported cases of ASF between 2019 and 2022.

On March 7, Negros Occidental included the neighboring Cebu province, with Bantayan Island and Camotes Island, in the ban after the ASF virus has been detected in Carcar City.

Lemana said that despite the ban, Negros Occidental has a sufficient supply of pork and even has a surplus, especially now that Cebu has prohibited the entry of live pigs and pork products from Negros Island.

“Our commercial raisers are negotiating with the traders in Manila if they can deliver through vessels from Bredco port (in Bacolod),” she added.

The PVO chief said that since Negros Occidental has also banned bringing in pork by-products from Cebu, backyard raisers here have to increase production of processed pork items such as “chorizo and tocino” to meet the local demand. (PNA)

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