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Department of Agriculture

Dar assures public pork supply still stable despite spread of African swine fever to more areas in PH

in News/Tabloid PH News

The supply of pork and pork and products in the country remains stable despite the emergence of the African Swine Fever in Davao Occidental and other areas in the country, the Department of Agriculture (DA) assured the public.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said of the country’s 12.7 million swine population, only 1.7 percent had been affected based on the recent report from the field.

Dar said: “From the 216,000 depopulated swine, only about 13 percent is sick, but because of the 1-7-10 protocol, we have to depopulate every hog within the one-kilometer radius.”

Pork makes up about 60 percent of the country’s meat consumption. Aside from the domestic supply, the country also imports about 320,000 metric tons of pork, most of them going to the food processors. The country’s per capita pork consumption is estimated at 16 kilograms today.

Dar said swill feeding primarily caused the outbreak, although the origin is still being traced. Identified possible sources of the ASF include food wastes from ports or smuggled pork products.

After reaching the remote town of Don Marcelino in Davao Occidental, ASF has also been reported in two barangays in Davao City. Mayor Sara Duterte has allocated P20 million to aid the affected hog raisers.

The Visayas island group is now the only area in the country that is ASF-free. The first ASF contaminations in the country were reported in Bulacan and Rizal. It has now reached the the northern tip of the country, particularly Kalinga and Benguet.

On Monday, President Duterte gathered local chief executives to come up with strategies that will prevent the further spread of ASF, as well as the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease.

Dar urged everyone to work together in helping the affected local government units to properly manage, control and contain the said problems.

Farm damage due to Taal eruption rises to P578 million; volcanic ash to replenish soil nutrients in affected areas

in News/Tabloid PH News

While the Taal Volcano eruption has already damaged P577.59 million worth of crops and livestock, the volcanic ash that covered several areas also brings benefits as it will improve soil fertility over the long term, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

Data released by the DA office in the Southern Tagalog region as of January 14 showed that the eruption has already affected 2,772 hectares of farm lands and 1,967 animal heads. 

Damaged farms had rice, corn, coffee, cacao, banana and high-value crops.

Alert Level 4 is still up in the area, which means a hazardous eruption is expected within hours or days.

Although currently destructive, the volcanic ash deposits will also contribute to the so-called “birth of soil”, or the renewal and replenishing of soil nutrients in the affected farms. The Bureau of Soils and Water Management said this will improve soil fertility on medium to long term.

The DA interventions so far include P21.7 million worth of crops and livestock to be distributed by DA CALABARZON to 17 LGUS including Agoncillo, San Nicolas, Talisay, Lemery, Laurel, Lipa City, San Jose, Nasugbu, Mataas na Kahoy, Balete, Cuenca, Alitagtag, Padre Garcia, Tanauan City, Malvar and Taal. 

“These interventions include the provision of livestock for restocking and rice and corn seeds, high-value crops planting materials and other production inputs,” the DA said.

Also, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) has available drugs and biologics to be provided for the affected livestock. Also, two trucks are available to mobilize the affected areas for animal rescue and evacuation.

The DA added: “As for the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), a total of 5,000 coffee mother plants and 1,000 cacao seedlings are ready for distribution for damaged coffee and cacao areas.”

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will prepare immediate assistance in the form of fingerlings (7M fingerlings for tilapia; 20,000 for Ulang; 50,000 for hito; 100,000 for Bighead Carp; and 5,000 fingerlings for Ayungin) once aquaculture operation in the Lake will resume.

“Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) has an initial amount of Php 30M ready to provide to Rural Bank of Mt. Carmel as funds for the implementation of Survival and Recovery (SURE) Loan Assistance that will benefit around 1,200 farmers/fisherfolk in Batangas. In addition, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) has available and enough funds to pay for the indemnity of the affected insured farmers and fisherfolk,” the DA said.

Pork demand, prices drop in Metro markets due to ASF fear — DTI chief

in News/Tabloid PH News

The African swine fever (ASF) has started to affect demand for pork in some wet markets in Metro Manila, according to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

The trade chief on Thursday (September 19) joined officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and National Food Authority (NFA) in the monitoring of prices of pork products in Farmers Market, Mega Q Mart and Kamuning Public Market.

“We found that the prevailing prices of pork are around P200 to P220, but vendors say that public fear of the ASF is affecting pork demand,” Lopez said.

In the market monitoring he conducted last September 16, Lopez said there was already a P10 to P20 per kilo drop in the prices of pork due to depressed demand.

With this, Lopez echoed what Agriculture Secretary William Dar had declared earlier that raw pork with certifications from the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) and processed pork products from trusted brands are safe to consume and should not be banned in supermarkets and wet markets.

This is to dispel fears of both retailers and consumers on the possible effects of ASF on humans.

“ASF is a virus that is contagious to pigs but is not communicable to humans. But we advise the public to thoroughly cook their pork and other meat products to ensure that all bacteria and viruses are eliminated,”  Lopez said.

He also advised the consumers who shop in wet markets to ask vendors to present their NMIS certificates, issued every day by the NMIS. These certificates are proof that these pork products have been tested and found free of ASF.

Pampanga, Quezon, Caloocan, Quezon City, Pasig placed under ASF quarantine protocol

in News/Tabloid PH News

The provinces of Pampanga and Quezon, as well as several cities in Metro Manila, have been added by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to the list of areas that are now under quarantine due to the African swine fever (ASF).

This is based on the advisory issued by the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian of the Province of Batangas, which announced the ban on all live pigs, pork and pork products from the areas affected by the ASF.

“The DA has declared that African swine fever is present in the Philippines. In light of the impending animal disease emergency and to protect the health of local swine population of Batangas province, the temporary ban on entry shall apply to all live pigs, pork and pork products.”

It listed the Provinces of Rizal, Bulacan, and Pampanga, General Nakar in Quezon, and the cities of Caloocan, Pasig, Marikina and Quezon City as areas placed under quarantine.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar earlier announced that it has placed under the “1-7-10” quarantine protocol more areas, including another province in Central Luzon. He, however, did not identify these areas.

Dar explained that under the 1-7-10 protocol, pigs within the 1-kilometer radius of affected farms will be collected, killed, burned and buried.

Areas within the 7-kilometer radius, meanwhile, will be closed for entry or exit of pigs and pork products.

The places within the 10-kilometer radius are under surveillance to determine if pigs have entered or exited these areas.

The Batangas advisory said General Nakar, Caloocan, Pasig and Quezon City were under the 10-kilometer quarantine protocol.

In Quezon City, meanwhile, Mayor Joy Belmonte personally led the dismantling of backyard piggeries in Barangay Bagong Silangan after several hogs there were found to be positive of ASF. 

Belmonte said around 50 pigs have been culled already in areas within the 1-kilometer radius of the affected piggeries.

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