September 29, 2023

Communities identified as special areas for agricultural development (SAAD) and have been classified as free of the African swine fever has been tapped for the repopulation program of the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera.

DA-Cordillera Director Cameron Odsey said piglet dispersal is among the activities done under the SAAD program.

“Nagbibigay tayo ng piglet at mga pagkain para makapagpalaki ang residents. Kapag nanganak, the resident is asked to return a female piglet, which we again distribute to the others who are interested in hog raising,” Odsey said.

The SAAD program, a locally funded initiative of the government via the DA, gives livelihood support to residents in poor villages in Kalinga, Apayao, and Mountain Province to help provide income to the families and encourage them to venture into agribusiness.

Odsey said the system used in the DA’s swine repopulation program was put in place to prevent ASF-infected piglets bought outside the region from entering communities in the Cordillera.

Odsey, a veterinarian, said while it will take a longer time for the region to raise hogs for internal consumption, the system is a better alternative than rushing the repopulation only for the ASF problem to continue.

He said the region only has a few commercial hog farms and most of those engaged in swine production are backyard raisers with less than 10 heads each.

The region experienced three waves of ASF infection – from October 2019 to February 2020, from June to September 2020 which affected 22 municipalities in four provinces, and the third wave was in January to May 2022.

As of May 23, there are 12 light green municipalities, 18 buffer municipalities, and 46 red zone municipalities that have ongoing control measures and sentinel animal distribution for the upgrading of zones from red to pink.

From 2019 to the present, the government infused P240,522,902 to address the ASF in the region.

DA-Cordillera records also showed 261 cases of ASF have led to the death and depopulation of 8,811 pigs that are either affected or are within the six-kilometer radius from where a case was recorded.

A DA-Cordillera inventory in September 2021 also showed there are 23,815 backyard hog raisers in Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province with 89,466 heads. – PNA