ADM, one of the world’s leading human and animal nutrition providers, has joined with the Philippine College of Swine Practitioners (PCSP) and its partners from the private and public sectors to form an interdisciplinary program that will assist local hog raisers in Mindanao. Called the Bantay ASF sa Barangay program (BABay ASF), it aims to control African swine fever (ASF) and revive the livelihoods of both backyard and commercial swine farmers through biosecurity, surveillance, and monitoring, as well as restocking of swine farms affected by the disease.
According to Dr Max M Montenegro of PCSP, “ASF is the worst disease to hit the Philippine swine industry in recent years. Bantay ASF sa Barangay, a multi-stakeholder partnership between the public and private sectors and veterinarians, seeks to control the spread of ASF and assist in the repopulation of farms affected by the disease. The project was launched with the robust support of ADM Cares.”
Mortality can reach 100% in infected pigs, with over 400,000 having been culled since ASF arrived in the Philippines. The disease has also caused suffering and displacement for swine farmers, with no medicines or vaccines shown to control it. Currently, ASF is present in 11 regions, 34 provinces, 392 municipalities and over 2,000 barangays nationwide. So far, it has cost the Philippine hog industry at least PhP56-billion, according to DA.
"ADM has always been a committed ally of the Philippine hog industry in combatting the ASF outbreak in this country. Our support for the Bantay ASF sa Barangay program is our way of helping to prevent these outbreaks from happening and ensuring that hog raisers can continue their livelihood," said Dr Loren Mapua, ADM’s managing director of the company’s Animal Nutrition business in the Philippines.
In Northern Mindanao, two veterinarians have led training of biosecurity officers who will be based in the barangays to control the spread of the disease. Dr Benjie Resma in Misamis Oriental and Dr Dahlia Molo-Valera in Iligan City will continue to oversee the program.
"The government, in its relentless campaign to contain the spread of ASF, needs strong support from the private sector, veterinary professionals, and barangays to help prevent the spread of ASF that shattered the country's hog industry and mostly affected the livelihood of backyard raisers. Thus, this project Bantay ASF sa Barangay is very significant and very timely, considering that the disease is now widespread in the Philippines," said Dr Valera.
"We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to PCSP and its allied partners for considering the Province of Misamis Oriental to be part of the Bantay ASF sa Barangay Program. This program will be of great help to our efforts in protecting our hog industry from ASF," said Dr Resma.
ADM, through its CSR arm ADM Cares, donated PhP5-M worth of assistance for the program to protect the "green zones," or areas which remain free of ASF, in Mindanao. This funding will cover training sessions for volunteers, farmer seminars and procurement of more than 700 Nanogold ASF Test Kits and cPCR test kits.
Four barangays in Iligan City will serve as the program's pilot areas: Tipanoy, Abono, Dahlipuga, San Roque, and Digkilaan in District 1 and other parts of Misamis Oriental, namely Tagoloan and Manticao. All activities will be supported by the Northern Mindanao Hog Raisers Association, and volunteers from ADM. The program will also be extended, eventually, in areas in Batangas province.