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Hog prices drop due to ASF scare

/ 04:15 AM September 15, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Misamis Oriental, Philippines — Local hog raisers have observed a sharp decline in the farm gate price of pigs with  many people here worried about the impact of the African swine fever (ASF) on their health.

Robert Uy, a local hog raiser, said that the average buying price for hogs dropped by 24 percent from P125 to only P95 per kilo over the past days.

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Uy said that this was what worried them, and not the ASF, as he expressed confidence that their livestock would not be easily infected by the virus  because of the biosecurity measures they had  put in place in their farm facilities.

Uy added that the recent price drop had not yet affected their production planning as he was still optimistic the ASF scare would be addressed soonest.

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Provincial veterinarian Benjamin Resma explained that the virus threatening hogs had no effect on humans.

During Friday’s farmers’ market, a weekly event held at the Misamis Oriental Capitol grounds, some 200 kilos of pork were grilled, chopped to bite sizes and given to the public for free.

Resma said that it was aimed to ease public worries about the safety of pork sold here, and also to show that locally raised hogs were not ASF-infected.

Earlier, regional agriculture officials made the same assurance, saying that securing Northern Mindanao’s hog industry from the onslaught of ASF was of utmost importance to them now.

Stepped up monitoring

Dr. Leo Mira of the Bureau of Animal Industry’s (BAI) regional veterinary quarantine services, said that they had stepped up monitoring of incoming pigs and pork products and byproducts from other areas, whether local or imported.

On Thursday, Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vicente Emano has ordered a ban on the entry of pigs, various pork products and byproducts from areas identified by the BAI as ASF-infected.

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Emano said that this measure was intended to safeguard the province’s swine industry, and would be lifted once there was a BAI declaration that particular areas of the country were free of ASF.

Confirmed ASF cases

The pork products covered in the ban include raw, processed and cooked.

According to Juliet Araos, regional regulatory chief of the Department of Agriculture, the spread of the ASF virus had slowed down as the country was archipelagic.

Confirmed cases of ASF infection were found in Rizal and Bulacan provinces.

Experts said that those most likely to be affected if the ASF reached Mindanao would be backyard hog raisers.

Uy explained that commercial hog raisers fed their livestock with feeds, while backyard raisers fed pigs with swill.

Uy advised backyard hog raisers who could not do away the practice to cook the swill for at least an hour before feeding to kill the bacteria.

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