ASF incidence drops ‘dramatically’ in Q1 2021–Dar

Published April 13, 2021, 6:17 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Department of Agriculture (DA) Sec. William Dar said African Swine Fever (ASF) incidence in the country has “dramatically declined” this year even as the agency continues to implement localized programs to address the issue.

“The ASF incidence has significantly gone down from the third quarter of 2020, one of the highest that we’ve had, at 3,060 incidences. It has gone dramatically declined to 935 incidences in the first quarter of 2021,” Dar reported during a  Senate hearing on Monday, April 12.

Dar attributed this latest development to the DA’s modified protocols in managing, containing, and controlling the ASF in the country such as establishing local veterinary quarantine checkpoints, disease investigation, and surveillance, among others with the help of its teams in the regions and the concerned local government units (LGUs).

“We have adopted a whole-of-nation approach in the war against ASF through a heightened platform called ‘Bantay ASF sa Barangay’ that aims to protect ASF-free smallholders and commercial swine farms and further improve their biosecurity and proactive surveillance,” Dar said.

“This program will help assist in repopulating previously infected premises or identify financial support facilities for alternative livelihood projects for ASF-affected farmers,” he added.

According to Dar, the DA is also providing livelihood assistance under the SURE Aid program to ASF-affected hog raisers, on top of the department’s indemnification program assistance which was raised from P5,000 to P10,000 for every hog culled. 

Meanwhile, the agri chief informed senators that the livestock, poultry, and yellow corn sub-sectors contribute 33 percent to the country’s gross agricultural value-added, but only received a P2-billion budget allocation. 

This is significantly smaller than the P6-billion budget of the fisheries sector, which contributes around 19 percent to total agriculture value-added, Dar explained.