MANILA—The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday sought to alleviate fears about the impact of African swine fever (ASF) on pork prices in the Philippines, the latest country hit by the disease that has killed millions of pigs overseas.
"There's enough pork supply this season, more so on December, so it's not expected to raise prices in the market," Agriculture Secretary William Dar told "Bandila."
The highly contagious virus, which causes hemorrhagic fever in pigs, was confirmed as the cause of swine deaths in Rizal and Bulacan.
The virus could be traced to leftover food from hotels and restaurants, Dar said.
"Leftover food are being sold to backyard hog raisers at P15 per sack, which are feed directly to pigs without cooking them first," he said.
Dar said there is no vaccine against ASF and preventing the spread of disease is through mass culling.
Some 7,416 pigs within the 1-kilometer radius of the affected areas in parts of Rizal and Bulacan were slaughtered. These areas are now considered "cleared" of the disease, Dar said.
He also reiterated that ASF does not pose health risks to humans. "It's safe to eat," he said.
Cash assistance have also been given to affected hog raisers. They received P3,000 for each culled pig.
Authorities are now waiting for a separate test, which will determine the strain and virulence of ASF.
"If we know how virulent it is, then we have to elevate further our biosecurity measures," Dar said.