ASF control: Hike indemnity for hog raisers, government urged
By Jasper Y. Arcalas, Business Mirror (Philippines)
October 4, 2019
THE government was urged to increase its indemnification to hog raisers to entice them to easily surrender their herd to fast-track control measures against African swine fever (ASF).
This unsolicited advice from a lawmaker and a stakeholder group followed the government’s allocation of P1 billion for the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) indemnification fund for its ASF control measures.
The DA, meanwhile, dished out crucial advice to hog raisers: don’t believe antibiotics or any sort of medicine being offered to them that could cure or prevent ASF, since no vaccine has been developed against the dreaded hog disease.
“Antibiotic is used against bacteria and not against virus. We know for a fact—and we have been saying for so many times—that there’s no vaccine or medicine against ASF,” Agriculture Undersecretary Ariel T. Cayanan said in an interview with reporters recently.
“So there will be no claim that the antibiotic being marketed would be effective to cure ASF,” Cayanan added.
On the indemnification for pigs taken and killed by the government, the DA pays hog raisers P3,500 per pig that is culled to control and contain the spread of ASF.
AGAP Party-list Rep. Rico B. Geron considers the amount too little to entice hog raisers to surrender their herd.
With such amount, he added, hog raisers might just opt to illegally transport and sell their pigs to earn more than what the government is offering.
“If I’m the farmer I’ll just find a way [to] dispose [of] my pigs [and earn more]. And it also becomes one of the reasons why we cannot contain [the ASF] because raisers are hiding [the pigs],” he told reporters in an interview recently.
“Look at the case in Pangasinan. Where did [the infected hogs] come from? It was transported. It was transported by the raiser to save his pigs [and earn],” he added. Geron proposed that the indemnification should be at least 70 percent to 75 percent of the value of the pig.
“We are not even fully subsidizing the value of pigs but at least a certain percent should be given so that raisers could recover their capital,” he said.