Guv shortens quarantine of raw materials for feeds

THE Cebu Provincial Government and feed millers have agreed to cut short an agreed 20-day quarantine period for raw materials from Mindanao to 15 days due to logistical concerns.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said they came up with the agreement after discussing the matter with the Central Visayas Pork Producers Cooperative, Provincial Veterinary Office, Bureau of Animal Industry 7 and the Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

Feed millers have requested that the quarantine period be reduced to 15 days, instead of the initial agreement of 20 days.

Garcia said they agreed to the feed millers’ request because huge logistical preparations were needed to accommodate a 20-day supply inventory.

The move to quarantine raw materials before millers can use them for production came amid the threat of African swine fever (ASF), which has affected parts of Mindanao and Luzon.

The governor issued on Feb. 19, Executive Order (EO) 8 prohibiting the entry of live hogs, pork-related products, by-products and commingled food products from Luzon, Mindanao, Eastern Visayas and other ASF-affected areas.

The expanded ban includes genetic materials such as boar semen, breeder pigs and boar.

The measure was based on DA Administrative Circular 12-2019 pertinent to the National Zoning and Movement Plan for ASF.

“The transport time to Cebu (for raw materials from Mindanao) takes one or two days. Upon arrival, it is not immediately taken out from the port so they asked for a reduction of five days,” Garcia explained.

Since corn, which is considered under medium risk of infection, comprises more than 60 percent of the total ingredients put into the production of feeds, the governor said the Provincial Government will apply the same protocols used in the entry of live hogs and pork-related products.

The DA identified corn under medium risk of infection based on the risk categorization of feeds coming from ASF-infected countries. The corn cob, though, is tagged under high risk.

Garcia said before these are shipped to Cebu, corn ingredients from Mindanao should have certifications from their point of origin particularly from the provincial agriculturist as proof that the materials were sourced from that area and the DA regional office to show that area remained ASF-free.

Once these papers are presented, the notice of quarantine for that shipment of corn ingredients will be reduced from 20 days to 15 days.

For all other ingredients such as feed additives, milk products, minerals and vitamins, among others, which are considered low risk, the quarantine period was reduced to 15 days.

“By so doing, we were able to establish a protocol now on how to treat the entry of corn or how to ensure at source, the security of that corn. It’s like an added biosecurity measure,” Garcia said.

The updated quarantine period will take effect on March 23, to give feed millers time to impose the biosecurity measures at their level. (RTF)