AFRICAN swine fever (ASF) has been confirmed in 23 provinces across eight regions as of April 27, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said, noting that outside of Luzon, the disease is present only in two of the Davao provinces.

In a virtual news conference yesterday, DA Spokesperson Noel O. Reyes said the national count for culled hogs is 282,486 animals, who were killed as a precaution.

The DA identified the provinces with confirmed cases as Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mt. Province, La Union, Pangasinan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Cagayan Province, Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Aurora, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Rizal, Camarines Sur, Davao del Sur, and Davao Occidental.

ASF cases have also been detected in the National Capital Region.

“According to veterinary experts consulted by the DA, areas should be 100% free from the virus before we can declare that the country is safe from ASF,” Mr. Reyes said.

The DA has reported that the pork supply will fail to meet demand towards the end of the year, and estimated the size of the shortfall as equivalent to 31 days’ consumption.

According to the latest food outlook issued by the DA, pork demand is estimated at 1.2 million MT, with committed supply estimated at 1.1 million MT.

To augment pork supply, the DA said it will organize logistics for hog raisers in Mindanao to bring their surpluses to Luzon and the Visayas.

Hog raisers in Davao have committed to ship 500 metric tons (MT) of surplus pork monthly while those in General Santos City and Cagayan de Oro can send 3,000 MT monthly.

“Consumers should shift to other sources of protein such as poultry, which by the end of the year will be in sufficient supply, equivalent to 233 days,” Mr. Reyes said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave