By John Noel E. Herrera
Hog raisers in Iloilo towns have lost nearly P1 billion worth of swine since the African Swine Fever hit the province in October 2022.
Iloilo Provincial Veterinary Office (IPVO) head Dr. Darel Tabuada explained that the value of 96,805 hog heads that were either depopulated, died because of suspected ASF cases, or were disposed of or sold for less value is around P968.050 million.
Data from IPVO indicated that a total of 2,707 hogs were already depopulated after testing positive for ASF, while 5,303 hogs died naturally or from suspected ASF.
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. also earlier said that the provincial government was trying to address the supply of pork as the province has already suffered a 35 percent decrease in its pork supply since ASF started to hit the province.
“We are also addressing the supply side kay halin sang Oktubre, nabuhinan ang aton imbentaryo sang baboy because nag depopulate kita, that is why may 35 percent decrease kita so far. Ang aton subong nga concern dira, aside from fighting ASF itself, ang pag-uli sang mga baboy nga nadula sa aton and it will be addressed by our recovery process,” Defensor said.
Defensor noted that the depleted pork supply in the province could also translate into reduced source of protein, which would also affect the nutrition of local residents.
He explained that this may happen in three months, together with the problem with pork supply, if the hog population is not replenished.
This was also the reason why Defensor met with Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary Kristine Evangelista to ask for help through the DA’s livestock and dispersal program.
“Nangayo kita sang bulig sa livestock and dispersal program sang DA together with us, so that we can stimulate tjhe industry sang mga munisipyo nga mapag-on kita para nga mabawi ta to ang imbentaryo naton,” he said.
Defensor also said that it is important to strengthen the poultry supply to temporarily serve as one of the main sources of protein in the province.
“Again, this is also a nutrition issue in the province, and we are looking for other sources of protein to compensate for the decrease in pork,” he said.
Meanwhile, data from IPVO also showed that ASF has already spread to 21 towns in the province, and 15 are placed under the red zone – Oton, San Miguel, Alimodian, Leganes, Santa Barbara, New Lucena, Mina, Barotac Nuevo, Barotac Viejo, Dumangas, Banate, Janiuay, San Dionisio, Batad, and Dingle.
Only the towns of Duenas, Concepcion, Pototan, Badiangan, Zarraga, and Estancia remain under the pink zone, as only one barangay in these municipalities has cases so far.