Border inspection facilities may be most important step in curbing ASF

THE farming industry said the government needs to expedite the construction of first border inspection facilities to finally contain the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak.

In a statement, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura Executive Director Jayson H. Cainglet said the Philippines remains the only country without first border inspection facilities.

“It will not matter if you impose movement protocols and bio-security measures on farms and the transport of live hogs if we continue to have unlimited entry of untested imported pork at the port of first entry,” he said.

Mr. Cainglet noted that the funds for the construction were earmarked in 2019, adding, “there is obviously a resistance within the Department of Agriculture (DA) to construct such facilities.”

Former President Rodrigo R. Duterte approved the establishment of designated cold examination areas in major ports like Manila, Batangas, Subic, Cebu, and Davao to contain the spread of ASF.

“Producers are bearing the cost of increased biosecurity at the farm level, continued regular testing of pigs for ASF and related diseases, stricter ordinances on pig movement; yet there is no real quarantine inspection of imported pork,” he said.

Mr. Cainglet added that the lack of indemnification is discouraging hog raisers from reporting outbreaks in their farms.

As of March 5, the Bureau of Animal Industry reported that 325 cities and municipalities have reported ASF outbreaks. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera