KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 20 August) – The hog industry in North Cotabato stands to lose some P1.1 billion if the spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF) was not contained, provincial veterinarian Dr. Rufino Suropia said.
As of Thursday, two weeks after ASF first hit three villages in Magpet town, the industry has lost some P10.2 million, data from the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian showed.
The disease has spread to Kidapawan City and three other towns.
Veterinary workers have so far culled 2,059 pigs from 18 barangays in Kidapawan City, Magpet, Arakan, President Roxas and Makilala towns.
The province has at least 228,000 heads of pigs, many of which belong to backyard hog raisers.
In Magpet, the ASF infection was monitored in barangays Ilian, Tagbac, Poblacion, Bantac, Pangao-an, Mahongkog, Binay, Sallab, Noa, Doles and Magkaalam.
It has spread to barangays Tomanding and Lanao Kuran in Arakan town, Malungon in Makilala, Poblacion and Datu Inda in President Roxas, and Linangkob and Mua-an in Kidapawan City.
In a meeting Tuesday, the Provincial Development Council agreed to distribute P2,000 cash assistance to all hog raisers affected by ASF infection, apart from the P5,000 the Department of Agriculture in Region 12 plans to distribute as payment for each culled pig.
Suropia clarified that some hog pens or farms were exempted from the culling.
He mentioned the farm owned by former Cotabato 2nd district provincial board member Dina Espina-Chua, in Purok Mangosteen in Barangay Linangkob, Kidapawan.
Based on the results of the blood samples submitted to a testing facility in General Santos City, pigs at Espina’s farm tested negative of ASF, he said.
The official said Espina’s farm was strictly implementing bio-security measures, which includes decontamination of all of their workers and other individuals who would enter there.
It has its own water system, unlike the other backyard raisers that use water coming from the Marbol River, he added.
The Office of the Provincial Veterinarian said it detected ASF virus in Marbol River, which could explain the spread of the disease in areas close to Mount Apo.
The river’s tributaries include Kabacan River in Magpet and President Roxas, and Linangkob streams in Kidapawan City. (Malu Cadeliña-Manar/MindaNews)