Philippines now free of H5N6 bird flu – DA

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2021   •   705

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is now free of Avian Influenza (AI) or bird flu, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Tuesday.

In a statement, the DA announced that the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) declared the country free of the last remaining A(H5N6) strain of Avian Influenza on January 8, 2021.

The department said the country was able to resolve the outbreaks of AI A(H5N6) in a commercial layer poultry farm in Pampanga, and backyard poultry farms in a village in Rizal, in less than a year after the poultry virus reemerged in the country.

In its report to the OIE, the DA Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) said the affected farms showed no further evidence of the presence of the AI virus during the monitoring and surveillance.

“We had not detected any case of AI A(H5N6) among the poultry and other bird population in the last 90 days after the completion of cleaning and disinfection in the affected farms, surveillance and monitoring, and completion of the 35-day restocking period with sentinel animals in Pampanga and Rizal,” the DA-BAI said.

The recurrence of A(H5N6) was confirmed by the DA-BAI Animal Disease Diagnosis and Reference Laboratory on July 10, 2020, after the owner of the commercial layer farm notified the Pampanga provincial veterinary office about the sudden drop in egg production, cyanosis (dark bluish or purplish coloration of the skin and mucous membranes in chickens), and mortalities.

Another case was detected in Rizal, as reported by a farmer on August 26, 2020, to the municipal veterinary office of Taytay.

The backyard farm had approximately 500 heads of free-range chicken and 300 heads of Muscovy ducks. The clinical signs — such as wry neck or torticollis, cyanosis of extremities — and death were observed since August 10, 2020.

As a result of the swift action of the farm owners, sanitary control and containment operations to prevent the further spread of the virus were carried out immediately, the DA said.

“We appreciate the rapid response and collaboration of the local government units of Pampanga and Rizal and DA Regional Field Offices III and IV-A,” the DA-BAI said.

The agency also thanked the affected farmers — for their prompt reporting that led to the early containment of the disease — the poultry stakeholders, and partners from the Department of Health for extending support to the prevention and control of AI.

To recall, the Philippines also resolved the outbreak cases in 2017 and in 2018.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said this is a welcome development considering that poultry meat is a highly popular animal protein source among Filipinos, like pork and beef.

“I congratulate the DA-BAI and the local governments of Pampanga and Rizal, whose swift action resulted in limiting the further spread of the AI A(H5N6) strain to other areas,” Dar said.

The DA-BAI, however, reminds poultry farmers and industry stakeholders to remain vigilant and report any unusual mortalities to their respective farm veterinarians or nearest government veterinary or agriculture office.

DA receives additional 1,591 dairy goats from Australia

Marje Pelayo   •   May 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) received an additional 1,591 heads of dairy goats from Australia as part of the Department of Agriculture-National Dairy Authority (DA-NDA) Intensified Community-Based Dairy Enterprise Development.

The additional animals, which arrived in the country on May 18 at the Clark International Airport, Pampanga, are currently quarantined at JJK Farm, Magalang Pampanga.

They will be distributed to farmer recipients in Luzon who passed the technical evaluation conducted by the DA-NDA.

These goats are in addition to the 1,294 imported dairy goats that arrived at General Santos International Airport, General Santos City, last April 5, 2021, which are intended to be distributed to farmer recipients in Mindanao and Visayas.

DA-NDA’s animal importation project aims to build up herd numbers, enhance local milk production, and increase the average family income of dairy farmers.

Millers urge government to buy locally-produced rice

Marje Pelayo   •   May 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Under Executive Order 135, the tariff on rice from countries like India, Pakistan and China will be reduced to 35% from 40% to 50%.

Agriculture group Samahan ng Industriyang Agrikultura (SINAG) said traders might divert and buy imported rice than the locally-produced one because of price differences.

As a consequence, millers would need to buy rice from local farmers at a lower price.

“Doon sa P24 na landed cost (ng imported rice), ang pwede nilang bili sa farmers is P15 ang dry, ang wet ay nasa P12. With that price, malulugi ang farmers dahil wala pa sa break even price iyon,” said SINAG’s Rosendo So.

Thus, millers are calling on government to buy locally produced rice through the National Food Authority (NFA) at P17.50 per kilogram and a milling fee of P3 to P5 per kilogram.

SINAG estimates that the government needs P205 billion to buy around 12 million metric tons of harvest from June to December this year.

“With this new EO, kung mag backout ang magsasaka dahil ang miller ay hindi bibili ng mataas dahil malulugi sila, malaking shortage natin sa bigas,” So added.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said that the NFA can only buy a limited volume of rice.

“NFA will only buy because they are mandated to maintain buffer stock, so yun lang ang bibilhin ng gobyerno,” Dar said.

The official said that only the 10% deficit in local rice production will be allowed to import.

Dar added that farmers are now enjoying the benefit of the rice enhancement competitive fund under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).

“The farmers, sabi naman nila dati, aatras sila because of the RTL. The farmers continue to plant,” Dar noted.

He said the intention behind the lowering of tariff was to make rice affordable. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Phl hog industry needs P27-B to recover from impact of ASF — DA

Marje Pelayo   •   May 12, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is looking for fund sources to address the impact of African Swine Fever (ASF) on the country’s hog industry.

Specifically, the DA needs up to P27 billion for its hog recovery program, according to Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

This year alone, the DA requires an additional P6.6 billion for the repopulation of hogs.

Since the ASF outbreak began in 2019, the country has already lost over three million heads of pigs, Dar noted.

The DA is expecting an amount from the Bayanihan 3 but since the government has declared a state of calamity due to ASF, the agency is expecting an additional source of funds for the program.

“Kung may resource kami na pwede naming i-realign ito po ay pwede nang gagawin dito po sa under the state of calamity,” Dar noted.

Secretary Dar said it would take about three years before the country achieves the average number of hogs as before and it will need an overall budget of P27 billion.

Also part of the hog recovery program is funding ASF test kits and the procurement of a potential vaccine against ASF that is currently under clinical trial. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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