BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Agriculture (DA-CAR) was able to secure some P247.5 million from the central office to fund the implementation of various programs, projects and activities for its swine repopulation program in nearly one hundred zones that had been affected by the rapid spread of the dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF) that affected the hog population regionwide over the past several years.
DA-CAR regional executive director Dr. Cameron Odsey stated that the agency is intensifying its swine production and feeds assistance program in some 46 infected zones, 12 protected zones and 19 buffer zones as part of the overall efforts to help hog raisers to regain the vibrance of the region’s livestock industry that had been heavily impacted by the ASF infestation over the past several years.
He reported that the agency was able to accomplish 46.75 percent in terms of the implementation of sentinel protocol, particularly the establishment of livestock and multiplier farms where the validation in the affected sitios had already been completed.
Further, the DA-CAR official claimed that the swine repopulation in the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) towns is being continuously implemented while the conduct of trainings of barangay bio-security officers and agriculture extension workers on ‘babay’ ASF topics have been underway and are continuously being done in the affected areas.
Odsey stipulated that there is a continuous surveillance on the 7-kilometer radius and depopulation of infected areas once there will be confirmed reports on the presence of infected hogs to prevent the further spread of the animal virus to other areas that are populated by pigs to ensure the stability of pork and prevent the artificial increase in the prices of pork in the local markets.
According to him, the agency also embarked on an intensive information dissemination on how to combat ASF in various places around the region to ensure that concerned sectors will be fully aware on what are the measures that will be implemented in cases where there will be confirmed ASF cased in their respective places.
Moreover, the DA-CAR was able to issue the appropriate advisories in the various social media platforms on how to detect ASF-infected hogs and what are the measures that should be undertaken to prevent the further spread of the same so that people will be fully aware of what to do in such instances to avoid panic.
He said that the agency was also able to implement the re-stocking of affected hog raisers with sentinel poultry after the prescribed 21-day grace period where 30 heads were given for affected household which were grown for 35 days and sample collections were done on the 7th, 21st and 35th days for laboratory confirmation.
Odsey emphasized that concerned livestock industry stakeholders are continuously monitoring the incidences of unusual high mortalities in poultry and livestock to facilitate the declaration of disease free areas if sentinel animals test negative and no re-infection among the animals occurs.