PH cites int’l partners’ help in dealing with ASF

As it seeks to completely eradicate African swine fever (ASF), the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI) said mentorship from international groups helped strengthen their programs.

DA-BAI Director Reildrin Morales said groups such as the World Organisation for Animal Health, Food and Agriculture Organization, and agencies under the Canadian and Spanish governments were helpful in studies on how to effectively end ASF.

“The lessons we have learned from these groups who experienced the same issue really fueled our programs to prevent further damage and hopefully destroy completely the presence of ASF here,” Morales said in an interview on Tuesday.

Based on their coordination with other countries, the DA launched Bantay ASF sa Barangay (BABay ASF) and the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion or hog repopulation/recovery program, implemented by the DA-National Livestock Program.

Under BABay ASF, technical assistance was provided to swine raisers on disease monitoring, surveillance, and control, in partnership with local government units, swine raisers’ groups, the private sector, and professional veterinary associations.

Morales also noted the importance of border control to prevent, control, and eradicate transboundary animal and zoonotic diseases.

He said strict quarantine measures were implemented and the import and export of animals and products were firmly regulated in 35 airports and 137 seaports nationwide.

“A no permit, no travel/shipping policy was also reinforced to secure the industry against threat of diseases. Similarly, 16 regional quarantine stations and 133 quarantine checkpoints were maintained,” he said.

On January 17, the French government committed to assisting the DA in securing vaccines against ASF.

Morales said the DA is optimistic that the hog industry will gain momentum this year and recover its losses that included 1.7 million hogs.

Pork supply is slowly stabilizing as January data showed 13,870 sentinel or breeder pigs have been distributed in areas that have zero ASF cases.

Pork supply is also augmented by frozen items sourced from other countries.

“These imported products are kept in cold storages and will be released to simply augment supply gap. This is never meant to compete with the local producers,” Morales said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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