By John Noel E. Herrera
Local farmers are slowly getting back their confidence in backyard hog raising amid the continuous spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the province, according to Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr.
“We have been facing ASF, nga sa subong ginapulsuhan naton ang aton kabanwahanan, ang aton backyard raisers nagbakal na sang idik. Little by little ara na ang confidence,” Defensor said in a press conference on Friday, March 24, 2023.
Defensor added that the Iloilo Provincial Veterinary Office is still updating the recovery status of the province and they already planned to start hog repopulation as pork shortage may happen.
“Kung mahimo pa lang, maumpisa kita dira sa red zone naton, sa mga barangay nga pwede na, kung nag negative na sila and sa mga barangay kung sa diin mabakod sila kay may ara man mga barangay nga wala pa gid masudlan (ASF), may nagabato,” he said.
The governor noted that backyard hog raisers are important in replenishing the pork supply as 80 percent of the province’s supply in the local market is coming from them.
“Tama kaimportante ang aton backyard raisers. Number one, livelihood na sa aton pumuluyo, they are not just backyard raisers, they are farmers. Number two, 80 percent sang aton pork supply halin sa (backyard) hog raisers, they are a big part of our economy,” Defensor said.
He also reiterated that the spread of ASF cases in the province is not because of the backyard raisers, as the hog disease is contagious and may come from different sources.
“Ang ginhalinan sang ASF, indi mo gid na maeksakto (determine). Amu na halin sang una pag-umpisa sang ASF, you cannot categorically say kung diin gid na siya naghalin because tama ka contagious, pwede sa t-shirt, pwede sa feeds, piglets, breeder, artificial insemination,” he said.
ASF has already spread to 24 towns in the province after swine specimen samples from Barangay Tingui-an in Balasan, Iloilo tested positive for the said hog disease.
Data also indicated that 17 towns were placed under red (infected) zones – including Oton, San Miguel, Leganes, New Lucena, Alimodian, Santa Barbara, Mina, Barotac Nuevo, Barotac Viejo, Dumangas, Banate, Janiuay, Concepcion, Batad, Zarraga, San Dionisio, and Dingle.
The towns of Duenas, Badiangan, Pototan, San Enrique, Estancia, Ajuy, and Balasan remain under pink (buffer) zones.
The IPVO, on the other hand, has distributed financial assistance to ASF-affected farmers, as the province has already suffered around a 45 percent decrease in pork supply and lost over P2 billion due to hog disease.