DA-BAI assures no broilers affected by bird flu in Pampanga

Marje Pelayo   •   July 30, 2020   •   150

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) reported a confirmed case of bird flu or a highly-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) strain, specifically A(H5N6), at a poultry layer or egg-producing farm in San Luis, Pampanga.

Upon confirming the report, the department immediately sent a composite team of veterinarians and animal health officers to the area to apply emergency control measures to contain the spread of the bird disease. 

The team also conducted disease surveillance around the infected farm.

“The team humanely culled a total of 38,701 head of layers and disposed off of them properly, employing the protocols under the Avian Influenza Protection Program of the Philippine Government,” DA-BAI Director Ronnie Domingo reported.

All personnel involved in the disease control measures were strictly monitored by the health office of San Luis, said Domingo.

Domingo has assured that there were no reports or detection of A(H5N6) among broilers, the primary source of poultry meat, in the area.

DA takes on challenge to achieve 2% growth in agriculture

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 6, 2020

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is taking on the challenge to exert all efforts to enable the country’s agriculture sector to grow by at least 2 percent (2%) per year.

This is based on the challenge posed by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez for the DA to fulfill a 2% annual growth target for the agriculture sector to keep it ahead of the country’s population expansion rate.

“We accept his challenge. He [Dominguez] has been instrumental in paving the way for the Department to shine, especially as the Philippines faces one of its biggest threats, the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to DA Secretary William D. Dar.

According to the Agriculture Department, crops, such as palay and corn, fisheries and poultry production are expected to bring in the positive numbers to achieve the 2% annual growth target.

The country is already facing a recession as economy drops to 16.5%. AAC

Bird flu detected in Pampanga egg farm, Agri dept. says

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A strain of a highly-pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in a poultry farm in Pampanga, the Department of Agriculture (DA) confirmed on Wednesday.

Citing a report from the Bureau of Animal Industry, the DA said the presence of the avian flu strain, specifically A(H5N6), was detected in a poultry layer or egg-producing farm in San Luis town.

In a statement, the department said that upon confirmation of the report, a composite team of veterinarians and animal health officers from its field office in Central Luzon and Pampanga was immediately sent to the area to apply emergency control measures and conduct disease surveillance around the infected farm to arrest the spread of A(H5N6).

“The team humanely culled a total of 38,701 head of layers and disposed off them properly, employing the protocols under the Avian Influenza Protection Program of the Philippine Government,” DA-BAI director Ronnie Domingo said in his report to Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

The agency assured that all personnel involved in the disease control measure were strictly monitored. It added that the avian disease has not been reported and detected among broilers, which is the primary source of poultry meat.

Domingo said that early reporting, detection and strong multi-agency collaboration “paved the way for the rapid and effective response in the management of the A(H5N6) incidence.”

Initial field investigation showed the presence in San Luis of migratory birds, which has been associated with bird flu outbreaks in many countries, including the Philippines.

Domingo said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has identified 117 important bird areas (IBA) in the country, and about 150,000 migratory birds nest and breed annually in Central Luzon.

“The DA-BAI, therefore, urges poultry raisers in Central Luzon and in traditional IBAs to protect and shield their farms from the entry of migratory birds, and more importantly immediately report any unusual poultry mortalities,” it said.

Agriculture Dept. wants bigger budget for 2021

Robie de Guzman   •   July 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture is proposing a P284.4 billion budget for 2021, more than thrice its current budget of P79.9 billion, to fund its programs.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar made the proposal during a teleconference with the House of Representatives’ Committee on Agriculture and Food on Wednesday.

Dar said the proposed budget would be used to bankroll its existing and new projects – P61.8 billion and P222 billion, respectively – for the year 2021.

“The agri-fishery sector, for the longest time, has been a ‘sleeping giant’ of the national economy, whose vast potentials remain largely untapped to achieve higher and sustainable growth,” Dar said.

“While the agriculture sector contributes about 10 percent (%) to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), it gets a measly share of total national appropriations, at three to five percent in the last 10 years,” he added.

The Agriculture chief said the sector will continue to perform poorly if it is not given the proper financial support.

“If we were to ensure that agriculture contributes its full potentials in the country’s economic recovery in the ‘new normal,’ we need to augment the DA budget,” Dar said.

If approved, the DA said the budget will be used to further increase the production of major commodities for next year. For the rice sector, the department proposes a budget allocation of P56 billion; P22.5 billion for fisheries; P13.75 billion for high-value crops; P11.25 billion for livestock; and P6.6 billion for corn.

The department also plans to spend P130 billion to bankroll locally-funded projects, construction of farm-to-market roads, implementation of national soil health, and young farmers’ programs; P7.15 billion as counterpart for foreign-assisted projects such as the Philippine Rural Development Project; P3 billion on market development services; and P960.4 million on organic agriculture.

“In all, the budget is intended to sustain, reboot, and grow the Philippine agriculture and fisheries sector, amid the challenges brought by the pandemic and into the ‘new normal’,” Dar said.

Quezon Province First District Representative Wilfrido Mark Enverga, who headed the committee, said at the hearing that Dar’s request is just a ‘wish list’ at the moment given the magnitude of the budget proposal.

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