The Philippine Star

Gov’t to pay more for ASF hog deaths

- By LOUISE MAU­REEN SIMEON Industries · Quezon City · Pampanga · Agriculture

The gov­ern­ment is in­creas­ing the in­dem­nity for rais­ers whose pigs are culled amid the out­break of African swine fever (ASF) in the coun­try.

In a depart­ment bul­letin, Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Wil­liam Dar said Pres­i­dent Duterte ap­proved his rec­om­men­da­tion to in­crease the fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance dur­ing the last Cabi­net meet­ing.

“The in­crease will be from P3,000 to P5,000 per head. This means pre­vi­ous re­cip­i­ents will re­ceive an ad­di­tional P2,000 per culled pig,” Dar said.

It was early this month when the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture (DA) se­cured P1 bil­lion in funds to in­dem­nify hog rais­ers alone. The bud­get can cover up to 200,000 pigs given the P5,000 per head pay­ment.

The in­crease in the in­dem­nity came af­ter sev­eral law­mak­ers and in­dus­try groups called on the DA to in­crease its com­pen­sa­tion as P3,000 is not enough to help hog rais­ers re­cover losses.

In fact, P5,000 is still short of the ac­tual av­er­age mar­ket value of P8,000 to a high of P15,000 per pig.

The ASF is now con­firmed in 21 ar­eas in Lu­zon, par­tic­u­larly in Que­zon City and the prov­inces of Bu­la­can, Rizal and Pam­panga.

So far, about 36,000 hogs have been lost due to ASF, which is 0.28 per­cent of the coun­try’s to­tal pop­u­la­tion of 12.8 mil­lion hogs.

Duterte and mem­bers of the Cabi­net also ap­proved other mea­sures to con­tain and pre­vent the spread of ASF to ad­join­ing ar­eas in Lu­zon. These in­clude the im­po­si­tion of lock­down pro­ce­dures in Bu­la­can and Pam­panga, cor­don­ing val­i­dated ar­eas as ASF-in­fected zones, for eas­ier move­ment con­trol of pigs and pork prod­ucts.

There will also be ap­pre­hen­sion and fil­ing of cases against hog rais­ers and traders caught sell­ing or buy­ing and trans­port­ing live hogs, slaugh­ter­ing ASF-in­fected pigs and sell­ing ASF-tainted pork prod­ucts.

Dar had ear­lier ap­pealed to traders not to buy ASF-af­fected hogs, and like­wise back­yard rais­ers not to sell ASF-sick pigs as such mal­prac­tices are pun­ish­able by law.

“We must step up our sur­veil­lance and mon­i­tor­ing of trans­port of live pigs as well as pork prod­ucts,” Dar said.

ASF poses no threat to hu­man health, although it is highly in­fec­tious among pigs and can eas­ily spread from one farm to an­other if not prop­erly man­aged. The dis­ease has no known vac­cine yet.

Aside from the newly ap­proved mea­sures, the DA has been ad­vis­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of strict biose­cu­rity mea­sures and the 1-7-10 pro­to­col in ASF-af­fected ar­eas, in tan­dem with lo­cal gov­ern­ment units, the mil­i­tary, po­lice, swine in­dus­try groups and other gov­ern­ment agen­cies as part of their com­bined ef­forts to ef­fec­tively man­age, con­trol and con­tain the ASF.

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