Pork ban remains in NegOcc amid hog disease recovery efforts

By Nanette Guadalquiver

February 23, 2024, 4:36 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

BACOLOD CITY – The Negros Occidental provincial government will continue to prohibit the entry of live pigs, pork meat and pork by-products from other provinces to prevent a resurgence of African swine fever (ASF) infection and other related diseases, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said Friday.

In a statement, Lacson said the pork ban is part of recovery efforts from ASF-induced losses.

“We will continue to follow our policy. We will continue to be strict on the entry of pork products especially for those from areas color-coded as red,” he said.

Red or infected zones are provinces with confirmed cases of ASF, according to the Department of Agriculture.

In neighboring Negros Oriental, Governor Manuel Sagarbarria lifted on Wednesday the ban on the transport and movement of live pigs and pork products into the province to revive the struggling industry.

Lacson said Negros Occidental would like to go back to its status as one of the country’s biggest backyard hog producers but would need to be “very strict” in enforcing protocols to prevent another outbreak.

“What’s important is really how to recover. While we give our cash assistance, we explain to the hog raisers, let us not rush. Let’s just follow the protocol, the pre-sentineling, sentineling and of course, we hope the repopulation,” Lacson said.

The sentineling program is a science-based preparation for hog repopulation in ASF-stricken areas to ascertain that the disease no longer exists.

“No shortcuts, because anytime we get hit again, many will suffer,” Lacson said.

Last year, the PHP6-billion swine industry of Negros Occidental suffered almost 18,000 hog mortalities in about 20 local government units, mainly due to ASF and hog cholera.

On Feb. 13, Lacson distributed PHP1.3 million in financial assistance to hog raisers with reported swine mortalities in southern Negros, particularly the towns of San Enrique, Valladolid and Hinigaran, among the worst-hit localities. (PNA)