By Vina Medenilla
In the third quarter of 2019, the Philippines confirmed its first case of African swine fever (ASF) in Rizal Province. More than a year later, over 400,000 hogs have been culled, thousands of barangays have been infected, and at least P56 billion in losses were declared in the local hog industry due to the highly contagious disease that is ASF.
There are no medicines or vaccines available to control the disease yet. “ASF is the worst disease to hit the Philippine swine industry in recent years,” Dr. Max M. Montenegro, a swine consultant from the Philippine College of Swine Practitioners (PCSP) said during a media briefing.
In February 2021, the Bantay ASF sa Barangay program (BABay ASF), a multisectoral-partnership between the government, the private sector, and other organizations was launched as a way to mitigate the spread of ASF in Northern Mindanao. The program aims to improve biosecurity, implement strict monitoring using PCR and ASF Nanogold biosensor test kits, and support the repopulation or restocking of swine farms affected by the ASF. The program will also help affected local hog raisers in their search for funding sources for alternative livelihood projects either from the government or donor agencies.
BABay ASF program will be implemented with the support of ADM Philippines, under its CSR arm ADM Cares. ADM is a leading company in human and animal nutrition that supports different organizations by giving resources and novel ideas in solving industry issues similar to ASF. The said company donated five million worth of assistance for the BABay ASF program to preserve the green zones or areas that are still ASF-free in Mindanao. This also involves training sessions for volunteers, seminars, and procurement of over 700 test kits including the ASFV Nanogold Biosensor.
A few barangays in Iligan City will serve as the pilot areas for the including Tipanoy and Digkilaan as well as other parts in Misamis Oriental like Tagoloan. BABay ASF will eventually be extended in areas in Batangas Province where the project was initially built and demonstrated by the participants of PCSP.
For more information about the program, visit Bantay ASF sa Barangay “BABay ASF”.