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Don’t forget ASF threat, govt told

July 20, 2019

Amid the change in leadership at the Department of Agriculture (DA), the local swine industry has asked the full attention of the government on the serious threat of the African Swine Fever (ASF) which, they said, could destroy the P220-billion industry.

Even with Secretary Emmanuel Piñol’s removal from the DA, industry leaders urged the department and government agencies to remain vigilant and enforce the strict implementation of quarantine operations.

“A new [DA] Secretary is urgently needed to push for this nationwide inter-agency ASF preparedness protocol,” they said.

In a letter sent to President Duterte recently, the industry stressed that ASF is now a global pandemic wrecking havoc on the livelihood of millions of hog raisers across the globe, with huge social and economic losses to the agriculture sector.

“It is a situation that urgently needs a leadership that is not in transition at the Department of Agriculture (DA) since the Secretary will be at the helm in directing all our efforts in ensuring that the country remains ASF-free,” the industry said.

Signatories of the said letter were officials from the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, Philippine Veterinary Medical Association, Pest Management Council of the Philippines, Philippine College of Swine Practitioners, Philippine Veterinary Drug Association, AFPDOP, United Broiler Raisers Association, Arya Progresibo, Rural Urban Peoples Linkages, National Federation of Hog

Farmers, Inc., Pork Producers Federation of the Phils. Inc., AGAP, Fair Trade Alliance and Philcongrains.

For its part, the industry, assured it is doing its share by strictly enforcing on-farm and off-farm bio security protocols and hygienic practices among its workers, office staff and buyers. “We have also taken the initiative to launch information campaigns in areas where we operate,” it added.

Supporting the move are farmers associations and cooperatives from Ilocos, Central Visayas, South Cotabato, Cavite, Zamboanga, Bulacan, and Davao.

Piñol, who has served the DA since 2016, was recently appointed by President Duterte to transfer and head the Mindanao Development Authority.

Under Piñol’s leadership, the DA had instructed all quarantine groups in seaports and airports across the country since October last year to heighten monitoring and surveillance, ensure footbaths in all entry points and hang streamers to raise awareness of the public on the ASF.

Erring tourists caught bringing these products in the country will be penalized with a fine of not less than P200,000.

ASF is a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease of domestic and wild pigs of all ages. There are no effective preventive vaccines or cures, and the mortality rate is as high as 100 percent, according to World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

Among Asian nations, multiple outbreaks and rapid spread of ASF began in China and later on spread Hong Kong, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia and Mongolia. Other countries affected by the ASF are Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine and Zambia.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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