The number of active African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks in the country is continuously declining as it has fallen to just 19 barangays in nine provinces, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.
DA data showed as of June 4, active ASF cases are only observed in 19 barangays nationwide, noting that the government’s efforts against the dreaded hog disease has been effective.
In a virtual news briefing on Tuesday, the DA said the ASF-affected barangays are located in Abra, Apayao, Mountain Province, Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, Eastern Samar, nine in Leyte, two in Northern Samar, and Davao Occidental.
In terms of ASF positive samples, the DA’s Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) recorded only 176 positive samples in May, the lowest in a year or since the 152 ASF positive samples recorded in May of last year.
The DA-BAI recorded a spike in ASF positive samples in April at 520, putting a halt to the three-month skid since January, due to lingering presence of the fatal hog disease in areas that had previously active cases.
“The ASF positive samples increased in April because around this time our early warning system or surveillance program was active. And we were testing the environment, so these samples included environment samples. It doesn’t mean that there’s an active outbreak,” BAI Director Reildrin G. Morales said.
Citing the declining active cases and ASF positive samples, Morales said in two to three years time the country would have a “good handle” of the nationwide ASF situation.
DA data showed that since August 2019, ASF has affected a total of 2,787 barangays in 523 cities/municipalities across 49 provinces in 12 regions.
The numerous outbreaks resulted in the culling of 475,638 pigs nationwide with 64,704 farmers affected by the situation, based on the data released by the DA on Tuesday.
In terms of ASF indemnification status, the DA said it has distributed P1.553 billion to 37,675 hog raisers, corresponding to a total number of cull pigs paid of 316,911.
The ASF has devastated the country’s hog industry resulting in pork shortage that drove retail prices to skyrocket to as high as P400 per kilogram in recent months.
The government is banking on its twin measures of increasing the minimum access volume for pork imports by 200,000 metric tons (MT) and reducing pork tariffs to as low as 10 percent to boost domestic supply and pull-down high retail prices.
Latest price monitoring report of the DA showed that as of June 8, the retail price of pork ham (kasim) in Metro Manila wet markets range from P300 per kilogram to P370 per kilogram while pork liempo range from P340 per kilogram to P390 per kilogram.