THE GOVERNMENT will roll out its program to restore hog numbers in eight regions, including parts of the country where African Swine Fever (ASF) has been dormant for at least 90 days, as well as in areas that reported no cases but which are adjacent to infected zones.

Bureau of Animal Industry Director Reildrin G. Morales said in a statement that the P600-million repopulation program will be initially implemented in so-called “yellow” zones, where ASF has been dormant but under surveillance for the disease, and “pink” zones, those areas adjoining infected zones which had served as buffer zones to contain the outbreak.

According to Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar, the repopulation program will be implemented initially via the limited placement of pigs to check whether the virus is still present in the area.

Mr. Dar said the program is expected to benefit 8,000 backyard raisers organized into 500 clusters.

The program will launch in the regions of Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), Bicol, Davao, Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City), and CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region).

Mr. Dar said ASF incidence is currently declining.

“As of March 26, the country has registered 253 cases, versus 358 cases in January 2021, 330 cases in February 2021, and the highest level at 1,773 cases in August 2020,” Mr. Dar said.

Agriculture Undersecretary William C. Medrano said the beneficiaries will receive three to five piglets, feed, veterinary drugs, biologics, and antiviral agents for the six-month fattening period.

The hog repopulation program has been allocated P400 million for the so-called “sentinel” initiative — the introduction of a small number of animals to check for the continued presence of ASF — and P200 million for the multiplier breeder component, which will ensure a continuing source of piglets. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave