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DA launches twin programs vs ASF

TO effectively control the dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF) and revive the badly-hit swine industry, the Department of Agriculture has formally launched the national hog repopulation and “Bantay sa ASF sa Barangay” twin program, with a combined public and private investments of P29.6 billion.

The DA launched the program in Batangas City, in partnership with the local government units, private sector, and veterinary and hog raisers’ groups.

DA Secretary William Dar said that they have chosen Batangas because this is where the ‘Bantay ASF sa Barangay’ or ‘BABay ASF’ was born, alongside the hog repopulation program, formally called the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (INSPIRE).

To encourage backyard and semi-commercial raisers in ASF-free areas and “green zones” to go back to the business of swine fattening and piglet production, the DA through the Agricultural Credit and Policy Council (ACPC) is offering zero-interest loans, payable in three to five years. The DA-ACPC has set aside an initial budget of P500 M for this financing program.

Dar also said the Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) and Development Bank of the Philippines are allocating P15 billion and P12 billion, respectively, for lending to commercial raisers.

The DA through its Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) is also providing raisers insurance coverage for their hogs at P10,000 each when culled due to ASF.

Ito (BABay ASF)na ang bago at matibay na plataporma sa pagsugpo ng ASF. With a united front, we believe we could succeed this time in effectively managing and controlling ASF,” Dar said.

I thus urge our partners — the LGUs, hog industry stakeholders, veterinary associations, universities and research institutions, farmers’ cooperatives and associations, (FCAs), and backyard and commercial hog raisers — to join us implement stringent, sustainable biosecurity measures from hereon,” the DA chief added.

DA Undersecretary William Medrano, who oversees the DA national livestock program, on the other hand, said that the BABay ASF has initial funding of P1.5 billion while INSPIRE has P600 million.

Medrano added that INSPIRE aims to accelerate the repopulation and recovery of the hog industry to ensure availability, accessibility, and affordability of pork and pork products. The program has three components, namely: calibrated repopulation – swine livelihood enterprise; establishment of breeder multiplier farms; and intensive and modernized production.

I am happy that we are here today with our partners from the veterinary practitioners, LGUs, FCAs, universities and research institutions, and everyone helping together because that’s the only way we can solve these problems in the country,” Medrano said.

Dar, meanwhlle, added that the DA will continuously provide technical assistance in risk assessment, surveillance and monitoring of ASF at the barangay level, strict biosecurity implementation, and use of locally-developed molecular rapid test kit to support disease surveillance.

Further, he said the DA is providing P800 million for transportation assistance to hog growers and traders who will deliver and sell their hogs or pork products in Metro Manila public markets.