DA seeks more permits for fertilizer transport
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet—Controls put up to contain avian flu infestation have affected the transport of chicken dung that Cordillera farmers get from lowland communities for fertilizer.
Transporters of organic fertilizer were instructed to secure health and sanitation permits before they were allowed to ship processed chicken dung.
Benguet vegetable farms, which supply Metro Manila’s daily salad vegetable needs, use chicken dung as soil conditioner. The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) put up checkpoints to control the entry of chickens from areas where an infestation of the Newcastle disease virus (NDV) had been detected.
The NDV outbreak struck Central Luzon poultry farms in February, killing over 40,000 chickens. The Benguet provincial veterinary office said the disease also struck backyard poultry farms in the province, killing 700 chickens.
Ronnie Domingo, BAI veterinary epidemiologist, said a Department of Agriculture (DA) order, issued in 2008, directed haulers of animal manure to secure veterinary health certificates and shipping permits.
Without these permits, truckers hauling chicken dung would be turned back and escorted out of the province.
“The NDV outbreak underscores the importance of strict monitoring of animal and animal waste transport, and strict implementation of existing laws and regulations,” Domingo said.
He said the veterinary certificate should be issued by the veterinarian in charge of the poultry from where the waste had originated, while the shipping permit is issued by the office of the regional veterinary quarantine services.
Domingo said the infestation detected in Benguet could have been avoided had checkpoints been put up earlier. “There were no checkpoints then because there was no outbreak,” he said.
Lipton Linglingan, who transports chicken dung, complained about the tighter regulations. “It is the poultry owner’s responsibility to make sure that his chickens are vaccinated, healthy and safe. If the chicken is healthy and free from disease in the first place, there would be no problem,” he said.
He also said poultry owners should secure the documents required by the DA for transporting bird waste.
“These documents must be secured at the local offices of the DA in the area where the poultry is located. It would be very difficult for us, who are not from the area, to secure all these papers considering that an additional day spent there would mean more expenses for us,” he said.
Benguet transporters get their supplies from the provinces of Batangas, Bulacan and Pangasinan. Kimberlie Quitasol, Inquirer Northern Luzon
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