ASF task force warns gov’t to prepare to compensate farmers

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AN official with the government’s task force to prevent the entry of African Swine Fever (ASF) said the group is pushing for funding to indemnify farmers should the disease enter the Philippines.

At a hog industry meeting, Maria Glofezita Lagayan, head of communications for the task force under the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Industry, said the funding will compensate farmers for any losses should the government declare an ASF emergency.

She did not provide details.

Private sector participants said consumers also had to be encouraged to buy domestic pork.

Angel Antonio C. Manabat, technical services manager for PIC Philippines, Inc., called for an “Eat Pinoy Pork Campaign,” among other education measures, taking the industry position that pork imports are at a level currently disadvantageous to domestic producers.

“The only way we can help the industry is to talk about it, come out with programs, eat local pork, sponsor seminar lectures with the farmers… at least all the farmers and allied industries to know about ASF,” Mr. Manabat told BusinessWorld after the forum.

A university representative, Clarissa Yvonne Domingo, associate professor at the Department of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Science and Medicine at Central Luzon State University, said her institution is developing a method to detect the disease in pigs.

The CLSU method uses the process of recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) to function like a pregnancy test kit.

She said the university has also signed a memorandum of agreement with the BAI for capacity-building at veterinary laboratories.

Romeo E. Sanchez, associate professor at the University of the Philippines Los Banos, discussed methods to control ASF through biosecurity, disease confirmation, movement restrictions, and slaughter methods. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang