Min­danao farm­ers’ ap­peal for fur­ther ban on Lu­zon poul­try prod­ucts ig­nored

Business World - - AGRIBUSINESS - Car­mencita A. Car­illo

DAVAO CITY — The lift­ing of the ban on the en­try of poul­try prod­ucts from Lu­zon will go ahead de­spite a pe­ti­tion by poul­try in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tions in Min­danao for Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Em­manuel F. Piñol to con­tinue the ban un­til Novem­ber.

“There is still no dec­la­ra­tion that we are free from the avian flu that af­fected sev­eral farms in Pam­panga and Tar­lac and un­til then the govern­ment should en­sure that Min­danao re­mains free from the virus by block­ing the en­try of poul­try prod­ucts from Lu­zon,” Lalaine A. dela Vic­to­ria, pres­i­dent of the Davao Poul­try and Egg Pro­duc­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, told Busi­nessWorld in an in­ter­view.

Af­ter Mr. Piñol has lifted the ban on Lu­zon prod­ucts, the Min­danao poul­try farm­ers de­cided to bring their ap­peal to the lo­cal govern­ment unit (LGU) level. The sig­na­to­ries to the ap­peal are the South­ern Philip­pines Egg Pro­duc­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, North­ern Min­danao Egg Group, Davao Poul­try and Egg Pro­duc­ers, Inc., and Davao United Game Fowl Breed­ers As­so­ci­a­tion.

Min­danao’s grow­ers are ask­ing LGUs to ban “any poul­try, eggs and any re­lated prod­ucts from Lu­zon un­til the con­di­tions for lift­ing the ban have been com­plied (with).” It claims “there is no com­pelling rea­son for any un­due haste in lift­ing the tem­po­rary ban” since Min­danao is self-suf­fi­cient when it comes to poul­try prod­ucts.

“We sent a pe­ti­tion to Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Car­pio and we were in­formed by City Ad­min­is­tra­tor Zuleika T. Lopez that the mayor wants to con­sult ex­pert ad­vice be­fore she de­cides on the mat­ter,” Ms. Dela Vic­to­ria said. The farm­ers are also talk­ing with other LGUs in Re­gion XII on the pos­si­ble ban of poul­try prod­ucts from Lu­zon, she added.

Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture-Davao Re­gion Di­rec­tor Ri­cardo M. Oñate said based on PSA data as of July, the big­gest con­cen­tra­tion of poul­try in Min­danao is in North­ern Min­danao with 21 mil­lion lay­ers, broil­ers and na­tive chicken. The num­bers in the other re­gions are 12.4 mil­lion for the Davao Re­gion, 9 mil­lion for Socc­sksar­gen, 7.68 mil­lion for Zam­boanga Penin­sula, 2 mil­lion for the Caraga Re­gion and 1.6 mil­lion for the Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion in Mus­lim Min­danao.

Mr. Oñate said among the plan of ac­tion be­ing im­ple­mented in the is­land to en­sure it re­mains free from the Avian flu are: mon­i­tor­ing of do­mes­tic fowls, is­suance of cer­tifi­cate of in­spec­tion of poul­try meat and prod­ucts, check­point ap­pre­hen­sions, biose­cu­rity, is­suance of ship­ping per­mit and ve­teri­nary health cer­tifi­cate, vac­ci­na­tion of poul­try work­ers and han­dlers, im­ple­men­ta­tion of Wildlife Law, coastal mon­i­tor­ing of fowl smug­gling, and im­ple­men­ta­tion of pre­scribed biose­cu­rity mea­sures.

Dr. Ar­lene Vy­ti­aco, Head of the An­i­mal Dis­ease Con­trol Sec­tion of the Bu­reau of An­i­mal In­dus­try (BAI) said the author­i­ties can­not yet de­clare the coun­try free from avian flu since clean­ing and dis­in­fec­tion ac­tiv­i­ties are still on­go­ing.

“The clean­ing and dis­in­fec­tion is still go­ing on and it is only af­ter a 21-day pe­riod af­ter the clean­ing that the poul­try farms can re­stock sen­tinel birds,” Ms. Vy­ti­aco said in an in­ter­view dur­ing the Min­danaowide Avian In­fluenza Con­fer­ence held in the city last week. Com­mer­cial farms can only re­stock up to 100 sen­tinel birds while back­yard farms can re­stock up to 30 birds, af­ter the wait­ing pe­riod for the dis­in­fec­tion is com­pleted.

Ms. Vy­ti­aco said the agency will col­lect sam­ples dur­ing a 35-day pe­riod and mon­i­tor the birds ev­ery day. If there are clin­i­cal signs of bird flu, an­other culll is re­quired. But if the stocks show neg­a­tive re­sults then the birds will be har­vested, fol­lowed by an­other twoweek clean­ing and dis­in­fec­tion stage.

“Only then if we get clear re­sults then we can de­clare we are free from avian flu,” she said.

The in­dus­try raised its con­cerns about poul­try from Lu­zon to the OIC di­rec­tor of BAI and As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary En­rico P. Garzo dur­ing the con­fer­ence. It said it will also raise the same con­cerns with Mr. Piñol.

“We fol­low an in­ter­na­tional pro­to­col when it comes to the avian flu and given the cir­cum­stances we have no rea­son to lift the ban on poul­try prod­ucts from Lu­zon to Min­danao, said Ma. Teresa R. Ba­cayo, Chief of the Ve­teri­nary Quar­an­tine Ser­vices (VQS) at the Davao In­ter­na­tional Air­port. She said the pro­to­col is science-based and there is no choice but to limit the ban only on a cer­tain ra­dius from the poul­try farms in Pam­panga and Tar­lac. —

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