By John Noel E. Herrera
Pork supply in Western Visayas remains sufficient despite the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) in some provinces in the region.
Data from the Department of Agriculture (DA)-6 indicated that the pork sufficiency level in the region is still at 304.69 percent as of the last quarter of 2022.
It added that the region even has a 36,548.73-metric ton surplus of pork as the consumption demand in the region is only at 17,850.82 tons, while the supply is at 54,389.55 tons.
“If there is one thing perhaps that I’d like to secure, it would be perhaps, the sustainability naton sang pork. Right now, it’s good to know nga we are still self-sustainable,” Regional Veterinary Quarantine officer Dr. John Roel Hilario said in a press conference on Tuesday, March 28, 2023.
But Hilario said ASF still has a huge impact on the economy of the region as Western Visayas is considered the third largest producer of hogs with 1,126,462 heads in its inventory and 11.55 percent share of the overall pork supply in the country, as of Jan 1, 2023.
He noted that the region was able to export about 100,000 pigs to Luzon in 2020, and 400,000 heads in 2022.
But the operation is now affected by ASF as the hog disease has already spread to three provinces in the region, including Iloilo, which is considered the second largest producer in the region with 309,401 hog heads in its inventory.
Data from DA-6 indicated that ASF has already affected the provinces of Iloilo, Guimaras, and Capiz, while Aklan, Antique, and Negros Occidental remain free from the disease as of the writing.
The DA-6 hoped that ASF would not spread to the three remaining provinces in the region, especially Negros Occidental, which is considered the largest producer of pork in Western Visayas.
“Among the three, medyo gina-tagaan ta gid [priority] ang Negros Occidental kay dira man ang dalagko ta nga mga commercial farm,” Hilario stressed.
He also said that Local Government Units (LGUs) should implement stricter security measures through checkpoints conducted by their own Barangay Biosecurity Officers (BBOs) to prevent the spread of ASF.
“Amu to gani ang gina hambal namon, dira dapat mahalin ang improvements sa mga LGU naton by creating their BBOs kay sila ni gina gamit naton nga surveillance arms naton kay anytime nga may mga cases, ma dasig ang reports and pagpadala sang samples para maka-conduct sang testing,” Hilaro added.
Hilario stressed they continue to coordinate with LGUs to strengthen their borders and the biosecurity measures of farms, especially backyards, as most of the pork supply in Western Visayas came from backyard hog raising.
DA-6 noted that 1,012,658 or 89.90 percent of pork supply in the region came from backyard hog raising, and only 10.10 percent or 113,804 heads came from commercial farms, as of Jan 1, 2023.
“Strong man ang amon pagcoordinate sa LGUs kay hindi man namon masarangan nga kami lang ang mag ano gid sang sini nga sitwasyon, kundi gina strengthen gid namon, gina empower ang LGUs, kay sila gid ang may dako nga bulig, dako nga power nga mapa-implement nila ang dapat nga mga himuon against ASF,” Hilario said.