TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, May 4 -- To intensify the knowledge of the African Swine Fever (ASF), the Department of Agriculture (DA) - Caraga through the Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Information Section (RAFIS) conducted the ASF Information Caravan in the two provinces of the region, to include Surigao del Sur recently.
The first leg of the Caravan was conducted last March 23-25 in six municipalities in the province of Agusan del Sur namely La Paz, Veruela, Trento, Bunawan, Rosario, and San Francisco. The second leg was conducted on April 21-23, in five municipalities and one city in the province of Surigao del Sur namely Tandag City, Municipalities of Tago, Carmen, Madrid, Carrascal, and Cantilan.
RAFIS Chief Emmylou T. Presilda said the objective of the ASF Information Caravan is to strengthen the collaboration of different government sectors and officials starting from the barangay until the regional level in crafting a well-established information strategy, action plans, ordinances, and other interventions towards blocking the entry and/or containing the virus in their respective areas.
"The target audience for this ASF Information Caravan are the members of the Barangay LGU including their committee chairperson on agriculture, Key Officials of the respective municipalities/cities, Barangay Animal Health Workers (BAHW), and their identified local task force since these people are the first line of the defense once cases are detected," Presilda added.
The ASF Information Caravan is in coordination with partner agencies from the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) - Caraga, Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) - Northern Mindanao, and the Provincial Veterinary Office of Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur.
Discussed during the Information Caravan include the ASF Prevention and Control, Government Strategies, ASF Contingency / Action Plan, and PCIC Swine Insurance. A forum was also established right after the presentation of topics to cater to the suggestions and inquiries of the participants.
The ASF has already taken a heavy toll on the hog industry, which affected numerous hog raisers in the country. Massive losses in production have been observed as it already directly affected the meat prices in the market, making consumers wonder even more.
However, this was not just the case for some areas. Processed contaminated pork products such as chorizo are sold online and these are all coordinated through illegal logistics, making it a challenge for the task force to swiftly contain the infection.
As the virus continues to spread across the country, implementations from the DA such as border control and disinfection have initiated to prevent the virus from spreading. (Kent Warren Fuguso, DA13-RAFIS/PIA-Surigao del Sur)