Bacolod City – The spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) is subsiding, but the threat is still there, Agriculture Undersecretary Zamzamin Ampatuan admitted recently.
Ampatuan, who spoke at the 9th Regional Organic Agriculture Congress held at Negros Residences in Bacolod City, said it is a challenge for the Department of Agriculture to stop the spread of the swine viral disease, stressing that there is no vaccine developed yet in the country against ASF, aside from imported vaccines.
At the moment, the best thing to do is for the quarantine system to be enhanced, in order to contain the ASF spread, he added.
Negros Occidental has not been spared by the spread of ASF, which also hit four nearby provinces in Visayas, namely Panay, Guimaras, Negros Oriental, and Cebu.
Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Placeda Lemana reported this week that there are still mortalities of swine in La Castellana and Hinobaan towns in Negros Occidental, with the causes still being determined.
Negros Occidental, which has a P6 billion swine industry, recorded almost 18,000 hog mortalities in some of the 20 local government units since April this year. Losses to hog diseases, including ASF, have been placed at almost P200 million.
Lemana said to revive local industry, they have already started the pre sentineling program, a science-based approach to detecting the presence of the ASF virus in a particular area, before proceeding to swine repopulation by next year.
While the threat of ASF is subsiding, Ampatuan said “we should not be complacent.”
To address the anticipated shortage of pork supply during the yuletide season, Ampatuan stressed the need to enhance swine production in areas not affected by ASF.
With some importation, we may have enough supply in December, he added. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)