Geo-mapping eyed to locate hog populations unharmed by African swine fever

Nika Lazo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 16 2021 05:34 PM

Hogs are kept inside their cages after feeding at a backyard pig pen in Paranaque City on September 16, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - Around 9 million hogs are estimated to be safe or unharmed by the African swine fever (ASF) virus, hog experts said Tuesday, as they urged the government and the private sector to locate these herds. 

Dr. Angelito Manabat, a fellow at Philippine College of Swine Practitioners (PCSP), said the government and private sector need to collaborate to locate these hogs and protect them via the P29.6-billion Bantay sa ASF sa Barangay or "BABay ASF" program.

"We have to find out where those pigs are...Our target is to work with the LGUs [local government units], help them try to figure where those pigs are by surveillance through geo-mapping, and make sure to protect those remaining populations," Manabat said during a media briefing on Tuesday.

Geo-mapping takes location-based data such as names, addresses, and demographic information to create a map.

The Department of Agriculture launched the program last Feb. 13 with initial funding of P2.1 billion to focus on hog repopulation in "ASF-free zones."

While the government estimates that around 3 to 4 million hogs died due to ASF, the swine industry gave a higher number of between 5.5 to 6 million pigs lost due to the disease. 

A shortage of pork has caused prices of the commodity to spike, driving inflation to a 2-year high of 4.2 percent in January.

This led the government to put price ceilings on pork and chicken.

Manabat described the ASF virus as a "very large virus that does not travel very far." 

Survival times of the African swine fever (ASF) virus in various forms of the infected meat. Screen grab from PCSP briefing.


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