THE Bulacan Provincial Government has started the environmental swabbing in the commercial and backyard pig pens in the province which severely affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF) in 2019 where more than 200,000 pigs have been culled due to the onslaught of the said virus
This was announced by Governor Daniel Fernando in his speech during a meeting with farmers and fishermen with the theme “Kamusta Ka Magsasaka at Mangingisdang Bulakenyo?” held at the Capitol Gymnasium in Malolos City on Tuesday.
Fernando thanked the farmers who are also among the pandemic heroes and frontliners that have contributed significantly to this Covid-19 pandemic for their production of essential needs that were distributed such as rice, chicken, eggs and vegetables.
According to the governor, to restore the high production and supplies of domestic pigs to Metro Manila, they have started the environmental swabbing in commercial and backyard pig pens in the province in preparation of mass production of pork meat before the end of the year.
He said, the provincial government’s campaign, “Information, Dissemination Biosecurity and Safety Seminar/ Orientation” for 13 municipalities affected by the ASF has already started on Monday (July 12) and was followed by ongoing environmental or experimental swabbing in the pig pens.
Experimental swabbing according to Fernando is to take a sample in the said pig pens for laboratory test to find out if still there was an ASF virus contamination.
If the sample tested “negative” for the ASF virus, it will undergo disinfection and after a week the hog raiser will be allowed to raise only one piglet and if it survives in 3 weeks to 1 month it will be given a go signal or certification to be allowed for mass production.
According to Fernando, the provincial government will conduct biosafety in 13 municipalities under the “sentinel program” for the Bio-1 category or backyard farming and Bio-2 category for commercial farming where training and orientation will be held.
Implementation of protocols and restrictions in the aforementioned categories will be implemented such as strict prohibition of other people entering the pen and any any kind of animal, water to be used, disinfection of equipment, and prohibition of use or feeding of hog wash or “kanin-baboy”.
Fernando clarified that the devastation of the ASF in 2019 and followed by the pandemic caused by Covid-19 in 2020 is the main reason why the pork meat supply in Metro Manila has fallen and not the widespread misinformation that the hog industry in Bulacan seems to have been neglected.
“Ito po ay paglilinaw lang sa lumalabas na dis-impormasyon kung bakit ano raw ang nangyari sa pagbagsak ng hog industry sa Bulacan. Hanggang ngayon ay wala pang nadidiskubreng bakuna para sa ASF and then nasundan ng Covid-19 pandemic, maraming mga restrictions kung bakit hindi nakakapag-alaga ang mga magbababoy. In fact hanggang ngayon ay meron pa rin ASF sa Visayas at Mindanao,” said Fernando.
It is known that Bulacan province is one of the main hog meat suppliers in Metro Manila but the supply has dropped significantly due to ASF that is why many hog raisers have stopped especially those backyard raisers and because of the health crisis due of Covid-19 pandemic, the raising of hogs were also limited.
According to Dr. Voltaire Basinag, chief of the Bulacan Provincial Veterinary Office, in 2019 when the ASF strucked, 120,268 pigs from 40 commercial hog farms and 87,743 pigs from 6,614 backyard farms were culled after being hit by the said virus.
Basinag added that before ASF, the hog population in the province was at one million and now was dropped to only 100,000.
Because of this, the governor said, the provincial government does not stop helping and implementing alternative ways so they built and will soon start the Bulacan Provincial Government Multiplier and Breeding Center to be built on 1,150 hectares of land in the town of Dona Remedios Trinidad (DRT).
He said that this center is for mass production of various kind of animals which will be distributed to animal farmer beneficiaries who want to do business in raising animals such as cows, buffaloes, goats, chickens and ducks where a dairy farm will also be placed in a 25-hectare part of it.
According to Dr. Basinag, the provincial government has already distributed about 500 cattle, 400 buffaloes and 570 goats to farmers this year.