August 26, 2022


Growth expected for Philippines' poultry, swine sectors as animal disease cases drop



The Philippines' poultry and swine sectors are expected to sustain a positive growth in the succeeding quarters with cases of animal diseases in the country on a downward trend, according to an official of the Department of Agriculture (DA).


"We're seeing [a positive growth] because the livestock and poultry subsectors are continuously recovering," said Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa, adding that few areas were reporting cases of the African swine fever (ASF).


However, he said that the threat was still around and "we still need to pursue our efforts toward battling ASF."


The Philippines launched its campaign against the highly-contagious ASF following an outbreak in 2019. More than 3,000 heads were culled at that time as authorities rushed to curb the virus. It substantially slashed the country's swine population by about three million hogs, which led to local industry losses and spikes in retail prices of pork products.


Those developments prompted former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a state of calamity nationwide "to curtail the further spread of ASF, address the supply deficit in pork products, reduce retail prices and jump-start the rehabilitation of the local hog industry."


Since then, only five regions have active ASF cases, previously from 14 regions, based on the Bureau of Animal Industry's (BAI) latest report. These are the Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula and Soccsksargen.


Ruth Miclat-Sonaco, director of the National Livestock Program (NLP), said funding for anti-ASF efforts in 2023 would be bigger.


De Mesa said containing avian influenza was more challenging recently than when it first hit the country in 2017. "Just the same, we were able to control it this time around," he said.


BAI Assistant director Jonathan Sabiniano said, with the battle against the highly pathogenic avian influenza already at its tail end, the country could be bird flu-free within the year.


To date, only two regions are still affected by avian influenza: Cordillera Administrative Region and Central Luzon. Recently, Camarines Sur and Davao del Sur were declared free from bird flu.


Earlier, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that livestock output in the second quarter climbed by 2.1%. This, against a 1% decrease in the first quarter and a 19.3% decline in the same period a year ago.


Likewise, poultry output in the April to June period expanded by 7.8% versus the 12.3% increment in the prior quarter and 2.5% increase in the same period last year.

- Inquirer

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