September 15, 2023
Philippines considers subsidising African swine fever vaccine rollout
The Philippine government is exploring the possibility of subsidising the commercial rollout of African swine fever (ASF) vaccines, provided they prove effective in ongoing trials, according to a senior agriculture official, BusinessMirror reported.
Deogracias Victor Savellano, the newly appointed Agriculture Undersecretary for Livestock, emphasised the need for the vaccine trials to successfully complete protocols before considering additional government support. He made these remarks during the National Federation of Hog Farmers' general meeting.
Savellano outlined the Department of Agriculture's (DA) three key livestock objectives: strengthening biosecurity measures, repopulating the swine industry, and reducing feed prices. He stressed the importance of biosecurity measures.
Regarding biosecurity measures, Savellano mentioned the need to consolidate feedback and suggestions from various stakeholders, departments, and bureaus to establish a unified and coherent direction. He said there is a need for strict biosecurity to safeguard the local livestock industry.
Savellano informed members of NatFed that the DA would develop programs to encourage agribusinesses, agri-preneurs, and rural farmer families to engage in livestock farming as a primary or secondary livelihood.
The DA's focus includes increasing local livestock product volumes, maintaining a balance between production and imports to keep consumer prices competitive, and ensuring profitable opportunities for livestock farmers to generate livelihoods and jobs nationwide. Savellano acknowledged the ambition of these goals but expressed confidence in their achievability.
He pledged to collaborate with swine farmers and other livestock groups to stimulate repopulation efforts, even in the ongoing ASF threat, until trial vaccines are verified as safe, effective, and meeting international standards.
Despite the ASF challenges, Savellano reported that swine production increased in the first half of the year, reaching 860,712 metric tonnes (MT) compared to the previous year's 835,125 MT, as per data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) livestock and poultry database.