Filipinos urged to buy local pork products amid fears of African Swine Fever

Marje Pelayo   •   January 4, 2019   •   4899

 

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:

  1. Belgium
  2. Bulgaria
  3. China
  4. Czec Republic
  5. Hungary
  6. Latvia
  7. Moldova
  8. Poland
  9. Romania
  10. Russia
  11. South Africa
  12. Ukraine
  13. Zambia

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

 

 

 

CamSur, Quezon provinces declare state of calamity in ‘Tisoy’ aftermath

Marje Pelayo   •   December 5, 2019

Villagers walk next to a fallen tree in Naga City, Camarines Sur province, Philippines, 03 December 2019.  EPA-EFE/JONNEL MARIBOJOC

CAMARINES SUR, Philippines – The onslaught of Typhoon Tisoy has left more than P257-million worth of damage in agriculture in the province.

This has prompted the provincial government of Camarines Sur to place the province under a state of calamity.

According to the assessment of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), a total of 9,382 farmers suffered huge losses or considered economically displaced due to the typhoon.

Meanwhile, about 9,259.56 hectares of palay were also damaged.

Gil Dialiano Jr. was among those affected farmers who lament over their loss after the typhoon submerged their entire farmland.

This added to the burden of slumping prices of rice in the market, he said.

“Umani nga pero lugi naman dahil mura ang palay,” he said.

“Inabot ng baha kaya luging lugi talaga,” he added.

Overall, Typhoon Tisoy left more than P257-million worth of damage to the province’s agriculture.

“Ang dahilan po nito, ang damages po ng Camarines Sur na na-incur pagdating sa flooding, pagdating po sa damage houses, pagdating sa agriculture most especially” noted PDRRMC-CamSur Spokesperson Estel Estropia.

Similarly, the provincial government of Quezon also declared a state of calamity following the typhoon.

Such a declaration will allow local governments to utilize their respective calamity funds for the rehabilitation of the affected places.

Based on initial assessment, damage to agriculture in the entire province of Quezon has hit more than a billion pesos worth in the aftermath of the typhoon.

“Ang mga nasa vegetative stage, flowering stage at ang iba naman ay harvesting stage na ay dumapa at naapektuhan,” noted Quezon Province provincial administrator Roberto Gajo.

So far, authorities are still completing the damage assessment in infrastructures in the province.

Quezon province recorded two casualties from the onset of Typhoon Tisoy. – MNP (with inputs from Nel Maribojoc / Japhet Cablaida)

LTFRB reiterates ban on transport of pork, pork products through PUVs

Marje Pelayo   •   December 2, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) reiterates that all fresh, frozen, and processed pork products and by-products like sausages and are prohibited inside all public utility vehicles (PUVs) if carrier doesn’t have the needed permits.

This ban on transport of pork and pork products through common public transport such as PUVs is in line with the government’s efforts to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) across the country.

Carriers will only be allowed to transport pork products provided they presented the necessary documents at designated Animal Quarantine Checkpoints in disease outbreak areas.

According to LTFRB, violators will be fined of up to P200,000 in accordance with Republic Act 10536 otherwise known as the Meat Inspection Code of the Philippines.

70,000 pigs culled due to African Swine Fever — DA

Marje Pelayo   •   November 25, 2019

A pig in a backyard piggery is seen before culling after symptoms of African Swine Fever (ASF) were detected in the Pasong Tamo village of Quezon City, Philippines, 03 October 2019. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – Culling operations against further spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) continues in infected areas, but according to the Department of Agriculture (DA), the number of positive cases of ASF infections has already dwindled.

So far, the Department has culled around 70,000 pigs since the outbreak of ASF started.

The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) clarified, however, that only 30 percent of the said number contracted the pig virus.

Majority of the culled pigs were within the one-kilometer radius from the infected site so they have to be slaughtered as per DA protocol.

“Kaya po siya dumami para maiwasan ang pagkalat, (More pigs were culled to prevent further spread of the virus,)” explained Dr. Ronnie Domingo, Director of DA-BAI.

“Pati ang mga katabi o posibleng nahawa pinapatay na din (Pigs in nearby area which possibly contracted the virus were also culled),” he added.

Domingo noted that the incidence of ASF infection in the Philippines is smaller in scope than that in Vietnam where at least 5.8 million pigs were culled.

Based on the agency’s data in previous months, ASF cases in the country are declining.

Meanwhile, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) questioned how around 7.6 million kilograms of pork from Germany slipped pass Customs’ screening despite the existing import ban.

SINAG President Rosendo So added that canned meat from ASF-infected countries were allowed entry into the Philippine market.

“[The] Bureau of Customs should explain,” So said.

One reason also why hog raisers conceal their animals from authorities is due to the delay in government’s granting of financial assistance.

“[About] 99.6 percent ng ating industriya ay hindi infected (About 99.6% of our industry is not infected),” So said.

“Pero bakit ang nangyari ay yung ibang mga backyard ay ayaw i-surrender yung mga baboy? Dahil yung DBM mahinang magrelease ng pera, (But why backyard raisers refuse to surrender their pigs? It’s because the DBM delays the release of cash assistance),” he added.

So noted that 70 of 81 provinces in the country already have regulations in place regarding the entry of pork and pork products into their respective areas from ASF-infected municipalities. — MNP (with inputs from Rey Pelayo)

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