Hog raisers belonging to the Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines Inc. want the government to allocate P26 billion or 10 percent of the worth of the P260-billion hog industry to contain the spread of the African swine fever.
READ: Dreaded virus zaps pigs
They made the request even as Agriculture Secretary William Dar appealed to backyard swine raisers over the weekend to report sick and dead pigs to their respective municipal or city veterinarians to determine the cause of sickness or death and stop the sickness from spreading and prevent any more losses to the swine industry.
READ: ASF-control areas widen
He made the appeal in the wake of the dozens of pigs found floating along Marikina River
and a creek in Quezon City.
READ: 3 dead pigs dumped in QC; ASF eyed
“It was utterly irresponsible on the part of the backyard raisers as they did not only violate current laws but their misdoing also spread the disease pathogens much faster,” Dar said.
Meanwhile, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Sunday maintained 11 pigs from Barangay Bagong Silangan had tested positive for African swine fever.
She reacted to Dar’s statement that the announcement of ASF cases must only come from him.
She claimed the information came from the Bureau of Animal Industry, an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture.
At the weekly Liga ng mga Brodkaster forum in Project 6, Quezon City, Nicanor Briones, PPFPI vice president, raised concern that the ASF is spreading.
“The government must allocate a huge fund for the hog industry, the amount of 10 percent of the P260-billion industry,” he told reporters.
The hog industry badly needed the support of President Rodrigo Duterte and “his entire Cabinet family, especially the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council,” he said.
“This is a disaster if ASF is not contained completely.”
With the cases of ASF in the country, he said, not only the hog-raising industry stood to lose income but also the public and the food business, and the economy would suffer.
He said the P3,000 financial aid per head of dead pig from the Department of Agriculture was not enough to help the legitimate hog raisers or even the backyard raisers.
“Maybe we could settle for a conservative figure of P5,000 per head. Can you imagine how much a piglet costs, or for that matter a pig, a mother pig or a stud? A stud could cost about P100,000 to P180,000 each,” said Briones, a former Agap Party-list lawmaker.
For its part, San Miguel Foods assured the public that its meat products are safe to eat and are not affected by the African swine fever.
“Our farms and facilities follow strict animal health and biosecurity protocols. We also secure the required permits from the Bureau of Animal Industry and the National Meat Inspection Service before any of our products are distributed,” the company said. With Othel V. Campos
READ: Consumers, pork traders uneasy amid ASF scare