DAVAO CITY — The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is planning to introduce a system of common facilities for hog raisers to minimize the possibility of African Swine Fever (ASF) breaking out in the southern island.

“We are now on the conceptualization stage of the project… (It is) more of a common growing area for the backyard hog raisers,” Olie B. Dagala, head of MinDA Investment Promotions, International Relations, and Area Concerns Office, said in a media forum last week.

Mr. Dagala said the scheme will involves tapping private sector investors to help backyard hog farmers.

“The hog raisers will have a ‘big brother’ arrangement like a business-to-business arrangement, depending on the industry’s businessmen,” he said, speaking in mixed English, Filipino and Visayan.

He cited Makilala in Cotabato, one of the towns hardest hit by the October earthquakes, as a possible site for the so-called “hogstel.” He added that some of the displaced backyard hog raisers there will have to be relocated as their previous areas of residence have been declared as no-live zones.

“ASF actually does not come from the large hog raisers because they have their own bio-security measures. ASF comes from backyard raisers (who produce) contaminated meat products from swill feeding,” he said.

MinDA plans make the project part of the regional-level initiatives in 2020.

“We are closely coordinating with the Department of Agriculture. After Sec. Piñol was appointed as MinDA chair, the hog raisers association of Mindanao came to him to really ensure that ASF will not enter Mindanao,” Mr. Dagala said.

Meanwhile, Tagum City in Davao del Norte inaugurated on Nov. 28 its meat processing plant, the first such facility in Mindanao funded and owned by a local government.

The two-storey building, located at the public market in Barangay Magugpo West, has machines for making processed meat products such as longganisa, chorizo, and tocino.

The City Economic Enterprises Office (CEEO) will manage the plant, where registered food handlers will be given priority for its use.

CEEO head Mary Grace Terante said rates are still under negotiation. — Maya M. Padillo