No new cases of ASF recorded

Published October 29, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Madelaine B. Miraflor

Local hog raisers said there has been no new cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the country in more than a week, adding that the plan of some meat processors to stop buying local pork could cause further injury to the ₱260 billion pig farming industry.

“Over the past weeks, there has been no new ASF outbreaks. That is good news,” National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. (NFHFI) President Chester Warren Tan said.

He issued the statement after the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI), the country’ largest group of meat processors, asked its members to temporarily stop using local pork as their raw materials.

“It will add injury to all of us,” Tan said on the sidelines of the 2019 National Food Security Summit.

Right now, only 5 percent of the raw pork needs of PAMPI members are locally sourced, while 95 percent are being imported overseas.

The latest areas to report an ASF outbreak is Cavite and Nueva Ecija, which contracted the virus more than two weeks ago.

ASF, a fatal animal disease among hogs, has been killing pigs around Asia since last year. In the country, the virus was detected only in August and had so far spread to several areas in Luzon, including Rizal, Bulacan, Quezon City, Pampanga, Antipolo, and Pangasinan.

Meanwhile, Tan also said that it’s unnecessary to do a random testing on the processed meat products in Visayas and Mindanao because they remained free from ASF.

He said this as PAMPI also urged the “authorities to randomly test for ASF pork not just here in Luzon but even in the Visayas and Mindanao areas to restore consumer confidence”.

“They weren’t able to completely do [the random testing] in Luzon yet so they should focus on that first,” Tan said. “Visayas and Mindanao are doing everything to protect ourselves so let it be.”

Right now, there have been attempts to bring in processed pork products from Luzon to some areas in Visayas and Mindanao despite the ban that some local government units (LGU) has imposed on them.

Renante Decena, provincial veterinarian of Negros Occidental, said that over the last weeks, his province already apprehended the shipment of as much as 5,000 pork and pork products from ASF-hit areas, specifically Pampanga.

Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) said that thousands of backyard raisers have already lost their livelihoods because of ASF, while farmgate prices and demand for hogs have so far declined by 40 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

“The hog industry has lost P10 billion in the last two months. But are we whining now and blaming others for the misery that we are facing?” SINAG said.