DAVAO CITY Jan. 18 (PIA)- The Backyard Raisers Association, here will be holding an information campaign on its members to heighten awareness regarding the deadly African Swine Fever or ASF.
"We will try to police our ranks if possible , (and) help the agencies that the Asian Swine Fever will not enter the country. We (will) conduct meetings and inform them about ASF," says Felimon Santander, chairperson of the Backyard Raisers Association.
He admits that the bio-security is very lax on the backyard raisers sector as they are dispersed across the city. However, Santander said the backyard swine raisers constitute 65% of the domestic swine population in the region.
He said it is difficult to tell the group members to stop feeding "lamaw" or food wastes to their pigs as the backyard raisers are so numerous and some small raisers are just keeping the pigs to augment their income or for special occasions such as birthdays or graduations.
Department of Agriculture (DA) Memorandum 22 issued on August 30, 2018 prohibits the feeding of food scraps/wastes to pigs particularly food scraps from airports and seaports which are potential entry points of pork products from countries where DA has prohibited its importation.
The country has prohibited the importation of domestic and wild pigs and their products from the countries of Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, China, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Moldova, South Africa and Zambia.
Santander said they are preparing Information Education Campaign (IEC) materials like tarpaulins and cluster meetings in different areas such as Calinan, Tugbok, Toril, Baguio, Marilog and other areas to give awareness to its members and be vigilant.
He said that if ASF will reach the country they will be among the hardest hit along with the commercial piggeries. A backyard raiser has at least one to 50 heads of pigs.
ASF symptoms include high fever, diarrhea, lost of appetite and reddening of the skin. It has a 100% mortality rate among infected swine and has no known cure. It poses no threat to humans.
Santander said the ban on imported pork from 13 countries will help the local backyard industry as he urged the public to patronize the local hogs from backyard and small farms.
Meanwhile Dr. Maria Teresa Bacayo, head of the Veterinary Quarantine Services of the Bureau of Animal Industry-XI (BAI-XI) said as of December, they burned 100 kilos of confiscated pork products while this January they had already burned 80 kilos of confiscated pork. (PIA/RG Alama)