MANILA, Philippines — At least 64 of the country’s 83 provinces have recorded cases of African swine fever (ASF) as the virus continues to batter the hog industry, latest data from the Department of Agriculture (DA) showed yesterday.
As of Dec. 29, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), an attached agency of the DA, said these ASF-affected provinces were classified as red or infected zones.
The number of provinces under the dark green zone or those considered free from ASF has decreased to 12 from 20 in April, the BAI said.
These ASF-free provinces are Basilan, Batanes, Biliran, Bohol, Bukidnon, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Occidental Mindoro, Palawan, Siquijor, Sulu and Tawi-tawi.
Based on the latest report of the BAI’s National ASF Prevention and Control Program, at le ast 392 cities and municipalities were upgraded to pink or buffer zone from red or infected zone.
“At least 69 municipalities were upgraded to yellow or surveillance zone from pink or buffer zone,” the BAI said.
AGAP party-list Rep. Nicanor Briones said the hog industry has incurred at least P200 billion in losses due to ASF.
Briones is chairman of the Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Nonon Tambago, president of the Philippine Pork Producers Federation, criticized a move of the government to extend the lower tariff on imported pork until December.
Tambago said the extension would further erode the confidence of local swine farmers due to the slump in the farmgate prices of the commodity.
“Instead of focusing on lowering the tariff, it is crucial to address the gap between farmgate and retail prices as part of a long-term solution ,” Tambago said.
He said it is important for economic managers to consider the real situation faced by local farmers, rather than favoring a few importers and traders.