PNA file photo.

M’LANG, North Cotabato – The local government and the Department of Agriculture (DA) kicked off Thursday the distribution of 105 sentinel piglets to revive its hog industry that collapsed due to African swine fever (ASF) infestation.

Municipal agriculturist, Arlyn Encarnacion, said the piglets were dispensed to about 90 hog raisers from 23 villages earlier hit by the hog disease.

“These are those livestock farmers who abided by the biosecurity level 1 measure in their pig farms,” Encarnacion said.

Biosecurity level 1 entails the construction of a fence along the perimeter, foot bath, and septic tank not located along the riverbanks and irrigation canal.

“At least 25 percent of the 685 affected farmers have passed the biosecurity level I requirements,” Encarnacion said.

The sentinel hogs, which are at a fattening age ranging from 30 kg. to 35 kg., were given by the DA 12 (Soccsksargen).

“Experts will gather blood samples from these hogs in 40 days for laboratory examination,” she said, adding that the specimens would determine if the ASF virus is still present or eradicated in the area.

The local government unit initially allotted PHP32 million for its hog repopulation program, to be used to acquire swine and feeds for the affected farmers.

“We will be formulating other interventions soon if the result warrants,” Encarnacion said.

Since March, zero ASF cases have been noted in 23 of 37 infected villages here. (PNA)