28 Iloilo backyard farmers pass validation for ASF recovery program

Twenty-eight backyard farmers in the province have passed the validation for the African swine fever (ASF) recovery program conducted by the Provincial Veterinary Office-Iloilo, while 104 others from the municipality of Ajuy are currently undergoing validation. Provincial veterinarian Dr. Darel Tabuada, in an interview on Thursday, said 19 of the 77 farmers in New Lucena town passed the validation, eight out of 11 in Barotac Viejo and only one of the four farmers in Sta. Barbara. He said they hope to complete their evaluation in Ajuy either this week or next week. To qualify for the recovery program, the backyard farms need to undergo thorough cleaning and disinfection, and their pigpens must have had no ASF cases for the past 40 days. ‘We gave weight to the biosecurity level of the farm. It has to have a perimeter fence, it undergoes proper disinfection, has a footbath, and the biosecurity protocol on the movement of people going to and from the pigpen is in place,’ Tabuada said, adding that most of the farms are in isolated areas. The Provincial Veterinary Office will submit the result of the validation to the Department of Agriculture, and farmers will have to wait for the release of their piglets for sentineling or trial. Meanwhile, Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. would like to explore the idea of sourcing breeding materials through artificial insemination (AI) from hogs that survived the ASF. Tabuada said the governor would like to determine if they have high resistance against the virus since they were not hit by the ASF. He said the number of towns with ASF cases stayed at 23, with the last reported case was in the municipality of Lambunao. Tabuada also confirmed that the province’s pork sufficiency has dropped to 33.75 percent from over 278 percent before the ASF in October last year. ‘Based on our inventory, we are no longer sufficient. We only have 76,000 heads,’ he added. From March to September, over 13,000 live heads and over 2.309 million kilograms of frozen and processed pork have been shipped to Iloilo. Tabuada said Iloilo also sourced pork outside the province for processing before the ASF, yet the volume was not as huge compared with the current importation. ‘(Before) more or less it was almost half of that,’ he said

Source: Philippines News Agency