BAGUIO CITY, Feb. 20 (PIA) - - The Department of Agriculture calls on local government units and communities to help ensure a clean swine industry in the region with the continued threat of the African Swine Fever (ASF).
DA - Cordillera Regional Executive Director Cameron Odsey, in a kapihan media forum Wednesday, affirmed that ASF has recently affected some barangays in the municipalities of Tuba, Itogon and La Trinidad in Benguet and Tabuk City and Tanudan in Kalinga affecting 40 farmers and resulting to the depopulation of 640 pigs.
Odsey said the ASF infection in the region has e been contained. After the depopulation, disinfection of the affected piggeries is ongoing while strict animal surveillance, monitoring and enforcement is continuously in effect to prevent the entry of un-certified swine supply and byproducts in the region.
With the ASF infection caused by pigs from the lowlands bought by backyard farmers and from feeding "arasaw" or food scraps and swills to pigs, Odsey reiterated the call to the public not to buy online swine and meat products but get them from certified sellers only, and ensure clean practices in hog raising and in butchering pigs.
DA data shows that there are estimated 224,000 pigs in the region. The Philippine Statistics Authority data indicates that all provinces in Cordillera are self - sufficient in pork supply and only Baguio City with its big population gets some of its supply from sources outside of the region.
As Odsey assured that ASF is not a public health concern with experts attesting that ASF does not affect people, he reminded the public that it is also a common knowledge that animals that are sick or affected with any virus or illness must not be butchered for human consumption.
National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) Regional Director Lilia Julian Fermin, in the same forum, called on LGUs to prioritize meat inspection in their area and be concerned on food hygiene and sanitation.
Fermin also reiterated DA's public advisory on buying NMIS- certified meat products and on ensuring that the pigs are healthy and the process is hygienic when butchering for family consumption, community events or cultural ritual purposes.
Food is one of the basic necessities of human which is why primary attention on production and manufacturing is important, she stressed. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)