The Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) held an online Knowledge Unloading Day (KUD) on the Retrospective Study on the Epidemiology of African Swine Fever (ASF) Outbreaks in the Philippines on June 27, 2023.

The study, which was commissioned by PCAF to the Agricultural Training Institute-International Training Center on Pig Husbandry (ATI-ITCPH), aims to evaluate and identify the risk factors involved with the occurrence and spread of the virus. It also intends to assess the  effectiveness of the National Zoning Plan and the control measures implemented by the national and local government. Ultimately, the study aims to submit policy recommendations on ASF control and prevention.

In his opening message, PCAF Executive Director Nestor Domenden emphasized the devastating impacts of ASF to the hog raisers, the consumers and the whole industry. He also highlighted the importance of knowledge-sharing sessions to come up with relevant mitigating measures.

Simula noong 2019, malaking pinsala na ang naidulot ng sakit na ito sa kabuhayan ng karamihan, lalong-lalo na sa overall supply at presyo ng ating mga pork product. Ngayon, sa patuloy nitong pamiminsala ay napapanahon na atin pang lubos na maintindihan ang ASF para mapabilis ang pagsugpo rito,” he said.

ATI-ITCPH Director and National Livestock Program Director Ruth Miclat-Sonaco expressed her gratitude towards PCAF for supporting the conduct of the study.

“We always want to conduct this study and we have been checking for possible funding because we know this could be beneficial to the industry. That is why we are thankful to PCAF for collaborating with us,” she furthered.

Project Leader Dr. Raul Berro presented the study to more than 100 online participants, composed of representatives from the National Sectoral Committee as well as Agricultural and Fishery Councils, DA regional representatives, and PCAF employees.

Dr. Berro reported that the study identified backyard farming as the number one risk factor associated with the spread of the virus. This involved practices associated with backyard farming such as entering the pig housing without using a footbath, accepting visitors, and getting water from communal sources (i.e. rivers, wells, etc.).

Meanwhile, the identified top protective factor that can be associated with ASF disease control was the change of footwear before entering the piggery, followed by the presence of laborers and bathing.

“Based on the data we gathered, we can see that basic farm biosecurity can keep your farm safe from ASF. Sa simpleng paglalagay ng footbath, pagpapalit ng damit at paliligo o hugas ng kamay bago pumasok sa babuyan, we can help prevent the spread of the virus,” Dr. Berro explained.

Among the policy recommendations included in the study were the tapping of ATI for conducting proper biosecurity training, promoting the use of semen from the Local Government Unit-Artificial Insemination Centers, and banning backyard slaughtering.

The KUD, spearheaded by the Knowledge Management Section, is a knowledge-sharing activity that targets to institutionalize a learning culture within and among PCAF staff and its stakeholders. | JCL