DA’s financial aid sought for ASF-hit swine farmers in Antique

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The local government of Antique is seeking financial assistance from the Department of Agriculture (DA) amid losses in the hog industry due to the outbreak of the African swine fever (ASF) in its two towns.

“We are waiting for the DA to provide assistance to help hog raisers, especially [small-scale] backyard hog raisers. They were supposed to save their pigs for the tuition of their children,” Antique Governor Rhodora Cadiao said in a radio interview.

Cadio said ASF is taking a toll on the province’s small hog industry.

Currently, ASF cases have been confirmed in Hamtic town and the provincial capital, San Jose de Buenavista.

“We hope the DA will help us. We don’t know the extent [of the ASF outbreak] as it may reach the entire province,” she added, noting that P19 million worth of hogs had been culled to prevent the spread of the highly contagious animal disease.

As of July 4, 30 villages in Hamtic have reported cases of ASF, resulting in 3,444 hog deaths and a total loss of PHP31.55 million, while the capital town of Antique has incurred PHP1.2 million in losses with 10 barangays reporting 106 hog mortalities.

Antique was declared no longer free from ASF after four of the five blood samples taken from hogs in Hamtic town tested positive for ASF in a confirmatory test released by DA-Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RADDL) in Iloilo City on June 19.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Veterinary (ProVet) Office of Antique called on the public to strictly adhere to biosecurity measures to contain the disease and prevent its further spread to other towns.

ProVet urged people to avoid swill feeding and promptly report any unusual pig mortalities, discoloration of body extremities, or high fever to local veterinary or agriculture offices.

It likewise said it will assist local government units (LGUs) with suspected cases of ASF, provided that the LGUs request assistance for blood sample extraction to be sent to the DA-RADDL.

As part of tightened border controls, the provincial government has put up checkpoints at key entry and exit points to monitor the movement of pigs and pork products in the province.