Filipino hog raisers need to improve their risk-management standards and sustainability consciousness, as well as implement a strict biosecurity program as the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak continues to hound their industry, according to the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI).
In a statement on Tuesday, BPI Sustainable Development Finance (SDF) Head Jo Ann Eala said such a program that would help hog raisers establish measures to limit transmission of the disease in a farm was key to overcoming the contagion.
First reported in the Philippines in September 2019, ASF has resulted in the culling of least 400,000 pigs.
Experts warn that up to 750,000 hogs could be affected if the outbreak persists and causes supplies to fall and prices to spike, said Vino Borromeo, Pig Improvement Co. (PIC) Philippines general manager.
“The shortfall will [force] the industry to adopt a more modern system of farming, put technology into the process, and innovate solutions to be more efficient and more conscious of the biosecurity that we need to put in place to protect herds,” he added.
Jun Ruba, BPI head of agribusiness, said that “until [a] proper biosecurity discipline is implemented, it will be really tough to repopulate and ensure that you don’t get hit again.”
We hope “we can put more controls through the combined efforts of different agencies and members of the industry who can help find the solution,” he added.
According to the BPI executive, the outbreak offered opportunities for pig farmers to consider, one of which is to bring back the number of their hogs to pre-outbreak levels and position their facilities where ASF prevalence is minimal or none.
“It can be further strengthened by good biosecurity measures based on what the industry learned from ASF-affected farms. Moreover, existing farms or investors may expand to new sites,” Ruba said.
For non-infected farms, especially in the Visayas, expanding breeder facilities may be a good idea, as the repopulation of hogs in Luzon would warrant robust production, he added.