Losses from swine fever top P700 million in Western Visayas
ILOILO CITY—Hog growers in Western Visayas have lost at least P762.5 million as the African swine fever (ASF) hit pig farms in the region, a report from the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Tuesday showed.
As of June 26, a total of 79,376 hogs in the region, composed of the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Antique, Aklan, Guimaras and Negros Occidental, died due to swine diseases and depopulation procedures to prevent the spread of ASF.
Capiz logged more than half of the total hog deaths in the region with 47,645 or equivalent to P428.89 million in losses.
Negros Occidental followed with 14,430 dead hogs valued at P162.61 million, Iloilo with 12,485 (P124.85 million), Aklan with 2,389 (P23.35 million), Antique with 2,051 (P12.29 million) and Guimaras with 376 pigs (P3.675 million).
The DA in the region, as of July 14, collected 2,853 samples from 527 barangays, with 996 samples from 338 barangays yielding positive results for ASF, representing a swine population of 4,468 with positive samples. More than 600 farmers reported losses.
Dr. Jonic Natividad, DA Western Visayas regulatory division chief, said Guimaras was on track to be the first province to go into a recovery process.
Their records indicated that hog farms in three out of five Guimaras towns had been affected—Buenavista, Nueva Valencia and the capital Jordan. The towns of San Lorenzo and Sibalom had not recorded any case of the hog disease.
He said officials of the island province had been working closely with them, diligently sending blood samples for testing and complying with the DA’s documentary requirements.
Natividad said that relieving villages of swine fever would rely heavily on hog raisers, regardless of the health status of their stocks, as they must implement their own respective biosecurity audits.
“If they are hit [by ASF], they have to [investigate] why they were hit; [check] if they [bought contaminated] meat or pork products or if they go out often. For those who are not affected, they have to look at their practices which may lead to [ASF infection]. These are practices that we need to address,” he said.
Western Visayas is one of the country’s top hog producers. Negros Occidental leads the region with an inventory of 491,066. Iloilo comes next with 182,020 hogs in its inventory, followed by Capiz (124,976), Aklan (98,398), Antique (76,384) and Guimaras (23,686).
ASF, according to the National Meat Inspection Service, is a highly contagious viral disease that affects pigs, warthogs and boars. It causes pigs to have high fever and lose their appetite, and causes hemorrhages in the skin and internal organs.
Hogs die in a span of two to 10 days upon infection. There is no known vaccine that has been developed to fight swine fever.
But ASF, health officials stressed, does not pose any threat to humans, and pork products from areas where swine fever cases have been detected are safe for consumption.