MANILA, Philippines – Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol appeals to the public to patronize local pork and pork-based products amid the dangers of African Swine Fever (ASF) that is currently affecting large pig farms not only in China but in other countries across the globe.
“The world hog industry is faced with a threat by a disease called the African Swine Fever,” the Secretary said on his social media account.
“I am appealing to consumers to buy pork and pork-based products produced by local farmers. This will be the first time I will make this appeal to Filipino consumers, meat importers, government policy makers and agriculture stakeholders because we are facing a grave danger which could destroy the Philippine livestock industry,” he added.
In August 2018, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has imposed a ban on the entry of pork and pork-based products from at least 13 countries:
- Czec Republic
- South Africa
Secretary Piñol also asked returning residents and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), especially those from countries affected by the ASF “not to bring in pork or pork-based products including ham, bacon and others.”
On Friday (January 4), the Agriculture Secretary sacked the entire Quarantine team at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for not instituting his order to install footbaths due to procurement issues.
“Halimbawa nakapasok. Anong impact noon? Sisirain natin ang buong industriya simply because sasabihin mo sa akin na “Wala pa po kasi kaming procurement”. Napakadali namang gawin iyon na gaumawa ka lang ng basang sako diyan ilagay mo diyan sa (sahig) pwede na,” he argued.
According to www.pigprogess.net, a key source of information for pig and pork production industry in the world, ASF has so far infected one of the largest pig farms in China located in northern Heilongjiang province, a facility that houses 73,654 pigs.
Screenshot from Pig Progress website
The website explains that African Swine Fever virus is “one of the most important diseases of pigs and the identification of the disease in a country normally results in the suspension of exports of pigs and pig products.”
It is highly contagious and the infection spreads rapidly from pig to pig usually from infected discharges and feces as well as by the consumption of infected meat.
The disease is “extremely resistant to putrefaction and sunlight, and can persist in refrigerated meat and carcasses for up to 6 months and for much longer when frozen.”
The effect of the disease on human health is still unknown. – Marje Pelayo