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Farmers to be paid for hogs lost to ASF

November 21, 2021 Cory Martinez 223 views

ALL farmers whose hogs were culled due to the African Swine Fever will soon be paid in full as indemnification for the loss of their hogs.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the remaining amount of P461 million is set to be released to indemnify the remaining backyard raisers, who owned roughly 92,200 culled hogs.

Since the ASF outbreak in 2019, the DA-Regional Field Offices (RFOs) and the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), in partnership with local government units (LGUs), have been paying P5,000 for every culled pig of backyard raisers in ASF-infected areas.

In all, the DA has received a total of P2.158-billion request to indemnify affected backyard hog raisers, of which P1.697- billion has already been paid to 48,530 farmer-beneficiaries, who owned 379,420 culled hogs.

“We thank President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for recently approving our request for the additional P461 million that completes our ASF indemnification payments, amounting to P2.158 billion,” Dar said.

In addition to the indemnification, the DA has provided ASF-affected farmers financial and technical assistance through the agency’s twin program — called “Bantay ASF sa Barangay” and Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives (INSPIRE).

Both initiatives are implemented by the DA’s National Livestock Program (NLP), in partnership with the LGUs, swine raisers’ groups, the private sector, and professional veterinary associations.

“We will continue to provide farmers with needed technical and financial assistance, so they can start anew, as we strongly pursue efforts to contain, manage and control the ASF, and subsequently revive the country’s swine industry,” said Dar.

He added that the Duterte administration is allotting a total of P42.8 B for lending to backyard and commercial hog raisers in ASF-free areas through the Land Bank of the Philippines, worth P30 B; Development Bank of the Philippines, P12 B; and the DA’s Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), P800 M.

DA-NLP Director Ruth Miclat, meanwhile, said that under its hog repopulation program, the DA has to date distributed 8,169 sentinel pigs to 3,061 farmer-beneficiaries in 312 ASF-free barangays.

It will also establish 10 community-based production facilities in ASF-free areas or “green zones” through clustering and consolidation, worth P50 M, including a climate-controlled 300-head grower capacity building located in a bio-secured area; and 16 swine breeder multiplier farms, worth P125 M, in partnership with hog farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs), LGUs, and state universities and colleges (SUCs).

Further, the DA is encouraging backyard and commercial hog raisers to have their animal stocks insured with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) to avail of insurance coverage of up to P10,000 for fatteners and P14,500 for breeders, respectively.

BAI Director Reildrin Morales, on the other hand, explained that the DA has already procured and distributed 134 ASF rapid PCR test kits to help affected LGUs through their provincial veterinarians in the early detection and sustained surveillance efforts on the ground.

He added that next year all DA Regional Animal Diagnostic Laboratories (RADDL) will have RT-PCR equipment that can be used not only to detect ASF virus, but also other animal or human disease-causing organisms.

Currently, the DA-RADDL has rapid PCR (cPCR) devices for diagnosis during ASF outbreaks. The NLP, BAI, and other DA livestock agencies that include the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), National Dairy Administration (NDA), and Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) are under the supervision of Undersecretary for Livestock Dr. William Medrano.

“We, therefore, renew our call to all backyard and commercial raisers across the country to fine-tune their respective production and biosecurity protocols, adhering to the new normal, and altogether prevent ASF infection and resurgence,” Dar concluded.

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