The Western Visayas hog industry is expected to get a boost from the World Organization for Animal Health declaration that the country is a foot and mouth disease-free zone, a government press release said.
Foot-and-mouth disease is a highly contagious viral disease that does not affect humans but has devastating effects on animals with cloven hooves, such as cattle, swine, sheep, goats and deer.
Dr. Jonic Natividad, regional veterinary quarantine officer of the Department of Agriculture, Region 6, said that the news is a welcome development, noting that the local meat producers to export their products abroad.
Natividad said that “this is a big thing to happen and would give impetus to our economy because we have been working hard to achieve this FMD-free status.”
He said that “the FMD-declaration will motivate the DA to further to double its efforts to safeguard the country’s animal population especially our hog/meat industry because this is a multi-million industry.”
Natividad also said that they will double their efforts to conduct continuous monitoring and conducting serology exam or blood sample collections, improve quarantine measures/procedures especially on animals coming in the country.
This is to show the WOAH and the rest of the countries in the world that the Philippines is doing its best to protect animals’ health, especially the hog industry, the press release said.
Natividad said that Western Visayas was then hit by FMD sometime in the late 80’s and in the year 1998-1999.
“But because of the good coordination between the government and the private sector the 1998-1999 FMD was successfully contained within thirty days,” he said.
More than 80 percent of the backyard farms are the region’s sources of hog products and the remaining fifteen percent or below, comes from the big private farms, Natividad said.*