By John Noel E. Herrera
The recent 1st Iloilo Hog Summit will address the different challenges faced by the swine industry in the province amid the battle against the African Swine Fever (ASF), according to the Department of Agriculture (DA)-6
In a press statement, DA-6 said that the event served as a platform to update partners and stakeholders on the current status of the hog industry in Iloilo and develop a concrete plan for effective project implementation.
The Iloilo Provincial Government also discussed the decline in swine inventory in the province, noting that from 277,421 heads in 2022, the supply dropped by 63 percent to only 101,201 as of May 2023.
Data from the Iloilo Provincial Veterinary Office (IPVO) indicated that among the affected areas in the province, 25 towns in the infected (red) zone suffered an 81 percent reduction in supply; nine municipalities in the buffer (pink) zone reported a 43 percent decline; six towns in surveillance (yellow) zone recorded a 28 percent decrease, and three areas from protected (green) zone logged a 50 percent decline in their inventory.
Only the town of San Joaquin, which remains under the free zone, reported an increase in its swine population by 44 percent.
Provincial Agriculturist Dr. Ildefonso Toledo stressed that the province had already stopped exporting hogs to Luzon due to the decrease in supply, which highlighted the importance of holding the summit so that all stakeholders can collaborate and strategize on the repopulation of the hog industry in Iloilo.
“Maplano kita kung paano natun mabalik ang mabakod nga hog industry sang probinsya matapos masudlan sang ASF. Maayo kay ari kamo nga nagasabat sang aton nga panawagan,” Toledo said.
In a press conference on Thursday, June 1, 2023, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said that the province needs to recover the surplus in supply of hogs to resume trade in Luzon.
“We have to recover trade kay ti based on the figures, nadula ang trade sa aton because nadula ang surplus sang supply ta kay gin-igo kita sang ASF,” Defensor said.
Data from IPVO showed that from 8,980 hog heads shipped out last December 2022, the province sent out 8,498 heads in January 2023 and only 897 hogs in February. The export was halted in March 2023.
Defensor added that they have already established recovery measures to address the depleted hog inventory and for the possible shortage of protein sources in the province.
“We will recover based on adjusted protocols kay siling ta sang una, we will start again if the whole municipality is negative, but that’s difficult, so we can start sa barangay level na kita,” he said.
The IPVO, on the other hand, reported that 10 ASF-infected Iloilo towns – Santa Barbara, Alimodian, Leganes, Barotac Viejo, Barotac Nuevo, Mina, Badiangan, Dumangas, San Dionisio and Zarraga – have not recorded ASF cases in the past two months per monitoring by municipal agriculture offices (MAOs) and PVO technicians.
With fewer reported infections of the hog disease, Tabuada noted that some backyard farmers have already started to raise hogs again, noting that MAOs are there to provide them with proper guidance and technical assistance.
The IPVO is also currently processing documents to start the sentinel program of the DA and they are considering the possibility of implementing the program in the barangay, instead of at the municipal level.