by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines — Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol confirmed on Friday (June 12) that the canned pork products confiscated last March 25 at the Clark International Airport have tested positive for African Swine Fever (ASF) virus.
Piñol said that the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) reported the detection of the ASF virus from the confiscated canned pork products brought in by a returning overseas Filipino worker (OFW) from Hong Kong.
The Agriculture Chief cited a report by Dr. Rachel Azul of BAI’s Virulogy Section saying “the viral DNA was isolated in pork luncheon meat and was tested using the ASF Taqman PCR Asssay at the ADDRL,” a procedure validated by laboratories in the United Kingdom and is widely used in countries in Asia for detection of ASF virus.
Azul clarified, however, that the detection of the ASF virus in the confiscated canned pork does not change the Philippine’s status as an “African Swine Fever-free” nation.
“So far, no African swine fever infections have been reported in pigs in the country,” she said as posted by Secretary Piñol.
“The seizure is a warning for the industry and an acknowledgment of the catastrophic threat on our doorsteps. If introduced, ASF would have a significant impact on pig health and production and contribute to enormous economic losses,” she added.
In a separate post, Secretary Piñol defended the Bureau of Quarantine for imposing strict screening procedures at airports as preventive measure against the the entry of the deadly pig virus.
“Kung nakalusot po ito at naipakain sa mga alagang baboy ang tira-tira, maaring kumalat ang sakit sa ating mga babuyan at magiging sanhi ng pagkasira ng ating hog industry,” he said.
(If leftovers of these products were fed to our livestock, the virus could have spread and harm our hog industry.)
“Doon po sa mga nagsasabing nag-o-over react lang kami at nagrereklamo sa mga mahigpit na quarantine protocols, ito po ang patunay na meron talaga tayong kinakaharap na panganib,” he added.
(To those who are accusing us of over reacting and were complaining against strict quarantine protocols, this is the proof that there is really danger ahead of us.)
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Monday, June 10th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – Mango growers across the country were compelled to bring and sell their yield in Metro Manila trading centers.
According to the Department of Agriculture (DA), there is currently an oversupply of two million kilograms of mangoes in the country because the El Niño phenomenon was able to help fruit farmers improve their harvest.
“Nakapahinga ang lupa for some time dahil sa init. And then kapag biglang ulan, bigla na lang tataas ang production ng mga fruit (bearing) trees,” explained Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol.
Consumers may be able to buy fresh and good quality mangoes at P40 to P50 a kilogram at the DA central office along Elliptical Road in Quezon City as well as in Bureau of Plant Industry offices in Malate, Manila; in Muntinlupa and Parañaque City Halls; and in Waltermart branches in North EDSA and Makati City.
Fruit vendors at Kamuning Market in Quezon City noted a huge drop in the price of mangoes.
In April, they said a kilogram would cost P120 but the price dropped to P85 due to oversupply.
Nevertheless, mango growers said they were able to still earn a reasonable amount, especially in April.
They are worried, however, that at this time they still have a lot and they have no more spaces to store them in.
“Okay naman po kaso ang mga canary nagsipunuan na kaya walang mapagbentahan yung farmers doon sa amin,” lamented mango grower Enrico Tolentino from La Union.
(We’re okay however, our canaries are already full and our farmers have no other place to sell them.)
An image went viral on social media were plastic bags of mangoes were hanged on house fences in Salcedo, Ilocos Sur for anybody to take free of charge.
According to the DA, an oversupply of mangoes is normal every three to four years whenever the temperature is high.
Exportation of mangoes to other countries like Japan and Dubai helps to address oversupply.
Agriculture Secretary Piñol took pride in the taste and quality of Guimaras mangoes which he showcased in his recent visit to Russia. (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Wednesday, June 5th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has heightened its border security against entry of imported agricultural products especially pork due to the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in some parts of Asia and Europe.
The agency has commissioned 15 sniffing dos at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and about 100 quarantine officers deployed at all seaports and airports across the country.
Filipino travelers coming from ASF-affected countries are advised not to bring into the country processed pork or pork-based products as these will be confiscated.
“Sinabi namin sa Department of Transportation na kung maaari magkaroon sila ng advisory sa lahat ng airlines na bago sumakay ang mga pasahero , mawarningan na sila na bawal mag-hand carry ng karne papuntang Pilipinas,” Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said.
(We asked the Department of Transportation to issue an advisory to all airlines calling on them to warn passengers against bringing pork products in flight.)
“At before landing mag-a-advise na on air na bawal magdala ng karne sa Pilipinas (dahil) may fine na P200,000,” he added.
(Before landing as well, they should advise on air that it is prohibited to bring in pork meat into the Philippines because there is a fine of P200,000.)
Piñol said he would ask President Rodrigo Duterte to provide more funds for the purchase of additional x-ray machines.
“We really have to watch out for this because it could have devastating effect on the economy,” he explained.
“In fact, tumaas ang inflation rate ng China because tumaas ang presyo ng baboy at nag-iimport na sila ngayon instead of exporting,” he added.
(In fact, China’s inflation rate shot up because of the increase in prices of pork and they have to import [pork] unlike before they were exporting.)
The Agriculture Secretary confirmed, however, that so far the country remains ASF free. – (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)
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