In this file:


·         ‘ASF protocol change to boost pork supply’

·         Rabbit meat eyed as pork alternative amid ASF



‘ASF protocol change to boost pork supply’


By Jasper Y. Arcalas, Business Mirror (Philippines)  

February 13, 2020


THE Department of Agriculture (DA) on Wednesday said it is considering changes in its protocol for controlling the spread of African swine fever (ASF) to ease the pressure on local pork supply and reduce the losses incurred by hog raisers.


In a speech on Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said the agency will review its existing “1-7-10” protocol implemented by the government, particularly the 1-kilometer depopulation, or culling radius.


Dar disclosed that the DA is now looking at limiting the depopulation area to a 500-meter radius of the infected farm. He said this will ensure pork supply, as healthy pigs outside of the proposed 500-meter radius may be slaughtered and sold.


The DA chief explained that with the bigger radius, only 13 percent of the 210,000 pigs culled by the government were sick or infected by ASF, while some 190,000 are healthy.


“In a meeting with hog commercial leaders, they [asked] me if we can review the 1-7-10 protocol, particularly the 1-km [depopulation] radius. So, let’s study [changes in the] protocol,” Dar said in his speech during the first day of the International Farmers Summit in Pasay City.


“Only 13 percent of the depopulated pigs are sick, the number of healty pigs is higher. If they can still be slaughtered then it would have higher economic value,” he added.


Dar said he will instruct the DA’s ASF Crisis Management Team to review the protocol. He did not give a specific time line for its review.


The agriculture chief also appealed to private veterinarians to zero in on the proposal as they are experts on the matter.


“This [proposal] is being presented to the veterinarians. Are there other countries that have implemented [the proposed protocol]?” asked  Dar.


Philippine Veterinary Drug Association (PVDA) President Eugene Mende said his group will look into Dar’s proposal. Mende said he sees the proposal as a “feasible” mechanism to control the ASF outbreak while minimizing hog raisers’ losses and ensuring stable supply.


“The only important thing is that the pigs do not go outside of the infected zones. So, we will sit down, and study that proposal,” Mende told reporters in an interview.


Industry stakeholders and experts said a huge cut in the country’s pork supply may cause spikes in prices.


Dire projections ...





Rabbit meat eyed as pork alternative amid ASF


By Eireene Jairee Gomez, The Manila Times (Philippines)

February 13, 2020


THE Department of Agriculture (DA) on Wednesday said it is considering rabbit as an alternative to pork among backyard raisers, citing the shorter growth cycle of the animal than that of pigs affected by the outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in the country.


On the sidelines of the International Farmers Summit Philippines 2020 in Pasay City, Agriculture Secretary William Dar told reporters that while the DA was looking at poultry as the major alternative to hogs, the agency was also studying the production of rabbit, given that many hog farmers have expressed discouragement on raising pigs due to ASF.


“We are serious. All options are on the table. It’s part of a basket of options,” Dar said.


“Nagbigay na kami ng ayuda in terms of kung ano yung gustong livelihood or enterprise ng mga naapektuhan but ayaw muna nila ng hog raising. (We already provided aid in terms of what livelihood or enterprise the affected farmers want but they don’t want hog raising for the meantime) With this development we have to now look at commodities that can substitute kung bababa pa yung pork supply (if pork supply will go down),” he explained.


Dar said the DA was optimistic on rabbit farming “because the growth cycle is very short. You can expand more when you have a shorter growth cycle.”


The Agriculture chief also noted the nutritional benefits of consuming rabbit meat, compared to others such as pork and beef.


“It’s also high in protein. Parang manok din (It’s like chicken),” he said.


Typically associated with chicken, rabbit meat was listed by the United States’ Department of Agriculture (USDA) to be among the healthiest meats available, although it has not been widely available in the Philippine market. It has a high percentage of easily digestible protein, provides a wide range of minerals, and contains the least amount of fat among all the other available meats.


However, studies showed that prolonged consumption of only rabbit meat risks...