MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to implement its P600-million swine repopulation program following the decline in the incidence of African Swine Fever (ASF).
In a statement, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the program will initially focus on areas previously affected by the ASF outbreak and are now classified as “pink” and “yellow” zones.
“We are heartened that the ASF incidence is waning, which as of March 26, 2021, has registered 253 cases, versus 358 cases in January 2021, 330 cases in February 2021, and the highest level at 1,773 cases in August 2020,” Dar said in a statement.
“This piece of good news boosts the Duterte administration’s swine repopulation program — or the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion or INSPIRE — that will be implemented in ASF ‘pink’ and ‘yellow’ zones, and more extensively in ASF ‘green’ zones,” he added.
As per ASF color-coding scheme, “pink” zones serve as buffer, where ASF is not present but adjacent to an infected zone. It may also be an area previously infected but the ASF virus has not been detected for at least 90 days, and thus has recovered from infected status.
Other areas where the program will be implemented are the: “yellow” or surveillance zones, which are ASF-free but adjacent to “yellow” zones; and “light green” and “dark green” zones, which are free from ASF.
Dar said the program will be implemented through the ‘sentinel’ approach in the first regions affected by the ASF which include Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 5, 11, 12, and the Cordillera Administrative Region.
The sentinel approach is the limited placement of pigs to ascertain if there is still ASF virus present in a test area.
The swine repopulation program will benefit 8,000 backyard raisers who will be grouped into 500 clusters, he added.
DA Undersecretary for Livestock Dr. William Medrano said the project beneficiaries will each receive three to five “sentinel” piglets — including feeds, veterinary drugs, biologics and anti-viral agents — during the six-month fattening period.
He said the sentinel component entails an initial budget of P400 million under the INSPIRE program.
Another P200 million is allocated for the INSPIRE multiplier breeder component to ensure continuous source of piglets for the subsequent expansion of the swine repopulation program, he added.
The DA called on local government units and stakeholders to join the government in its efforts to revive the hog industry.
“We need the strong and sustained support of backyard and commercial raisers, local government units, and the private sector to revive the industry,” Dar said.
“First, by effectively controlling the ASF and preventing its spread via strict biosecurity measures, and secondly, by embarking on a massive swine repopulation program,” he added.