DA rolls out P600M swine repopulation program in ASF ‘pink, yellow zones’

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AS THE African swine fever (ASF) incidence is at its lowest level since August 2020, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to implement the government’s P600 million swine repopulation program, focusing initially on previously affected areas that are no longer under quarantine and now classified as “pink” and “yellow” zones.

“We are heartened that the ASF incidence is waning, which as of March 26, 2021, has registered 253 cases, versus 358 cases in January 2021, 330 cases in February 2021, and the highest level at 1,773 cases in August 2020,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar, in a statement.

“This piece of good news boosts the Duterte administration’s swine repopulation program — or the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (Inspire) — that will be implemented in ASF ‘pink’ and ‘yellow’ zones, and more extensively in ASF ‘green’ zones,” said Dar.

As per ASF color-coding scheme, the “pink” zones serve as a buffer, where ASF is not present but adjacent to an infected zone. It may also be an area previously infected but the ASF virus has not been detected for at least 90 days, and thus has recovered from infected status.

Other areas where the Inspire program will be implemented are the “yellow” or surveillance zones, which are ASF-free but adjacent to “yellow” zones; and “light green” and “dark green” zones, which are free from ASF.

Sentinel approach

“We will implement Inpire through the ‘sentinel’ approach initially in the first eight regions affected by ASF, benefiting 8,000 backyard raisers, who will be grouped into 500 clusters,” said the DA chief.

The eight regions are 1, 2, 3, 4A, 5, 11, 12, and Cordillera.

The sentinel approach is the limited placement of pigs to ascertain if there is still ASF virus present in a test area.

DA Undersecretary for Livestock William Medrano said the project beneficiaries will each receive three to five “sentinel” piglets — including feeds, veterinary drugs, biologics and anti-viral agents — during the six-month fattening period.

The sentinel component entails an initial budget of P400 million under the Inspire program.

Another P200 million is allocated for the Inspire multiplier breeder component to ensure continuous source of piglets for the subsequent expansion of the swine repopulation program, said Medrano. (PR)