BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental province will start restocking hogs by the second quarter of this year as sentineling begins officially in the first quarter amid the controlled cases of swine diseases across the province.
The “sentinel program” is a science-based approach to detecting the presence of the virus from diseases, such as African swine fever (ASF) in a particular area.
Dr. Placeda Lemana, the provincial veterinarian, said Thursday that based on the protocol under the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO), they would soon start the sentinel program, and some hog raisers had begun on their own in the previous months.
“In the last quarter, there were hog raisers who proceeded sentinelling on their own, but they are being monitored by the PVO district offices. After they started raising pigs again in their own backyard, no mortalities have been reported so far. It means our pre-sentineling measures, such as disinfection and other related preventive activities, are effective,” she told reporters.
Last year, Negros Occidental, which has a PHP6 billion swine industry and one of the top backyard hog-producing provinces in the country, recorded almost 18,000 hog mortalities in about 20 local government units (LGUs) due to various diseases, mainly ASF and hog cholera.
Lemana reiterated that sentinelling applies in affected areas or barangays with zero swine deaths for about 40 days.
The hog farmer is also required to implement Biosecurity Level 1, the level of farm biosecurity in compliance with minimum standards set by the Philippine College of Swine Practitioners.
“As agreed, based on our program, the raiser will initiate the sentinelling with the assessment of LGU technicians to ensure that they follow the protocol. There should be footbath and perimeter fence in their backyard farms. Then, by the second quarter, we will proceed with the restocking,” Lemana said.
She added that hog production could return to normal in the province by the third or fourth quarter of this year.
Lemana said they could not yet consider Negros Occidental as free from ASF and hog cholera.
“We can just say that ASF and hog cholera have been controlled,” she added. (PNA)