• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental are among the 20 provinces all over the country which remain ASF (African Swine Fever)-free, as reported by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).
Despite the BAI reports, the provincial government of Cebu has extended another 15 days the temporary ban on the entry of live hogs, piglets, boar semen and pork related products from Negros Island.
In Executive Order No. 11, series of 2023, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said that there was still a need to confer with the stakeholders of the local hog industry, including the mayors of the local government units belonging to Cebu, and the respective governors of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental to come up with a common protocol against African Swine Fever, hog cholera and other swine diseases.
The temporary banning on the entry of live pigs and pork related products from Negros Island was supposed to expire April 6, based on EO 9 issued last month by Garcia.
Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary Rex Estoperez disclosed that ASF is now a national concern.
Of the country’s 17 regions, only the National Capital Region (Metro Manila) remains free from ASF, according to BAI reports.
The province of Negros Occidental and highly urbanized Bacolod City have also banned the entry of live pig, boar semen, sows, piglets and pork related products from Cebu, due to the detection of ASF in the island province. The value of Negros Occidental’s hog industry is pegged at P6 billion.
With the banning of the entry of live pigs and pork related products to Cebu from Negros Occidental, including the passage of shipments of hogs from Negros to Samar and Leyte, via Cebu, hog raisers in the province are now shipping their hogs to Manila and other parts of Luzon, although prices are cheaper, compared to Eastern Visayas.
Based on records of the Provincial Veterinary Office, the number of hogs exported by raisers in Negros Occidental has nearly reached 9,200, for the period covered by January to March this year.
Despite the looming shortage in pork production, Provincial Administrator Atty. Rayfrando Diaz disclosed that production in Negros Occidental remains strong, noting that the backyard production remains good, including the province’s commercial hog raisers. Diaz disclosed that province is currently working on the approval of its level 2 accreditation for the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) laboratory.
“Regardless of what happens outside, there is food security in our province. And if we are lucky to keep the ASF- and AI-free status, in the next five to 10 years, we hope to feed Negros Occidental, Western Visayas, and other parts of the country,” he added.*