The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) 7 declared the province of Bohol free from African Swine Fever (ASF).
There are no reported cases of ASF in the country “but we do not take for granted this development,” said Dr. Melika Adriatico of BAI 7’s Veterinary Quarantine Service during the Agripreneurs Forum held last Wednesday at the Dauis Gymnasium, Poblacion, Dauis, Bohol.
Adriatico said ASF is a highly contagious hemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs of all ages, characterized by high fever, loss of appetite, reddening of the skin and hemorrhages of the internal organs; and death which follows between 2-10 days on the average; and mortality can be as high as 100%.
She said the fever could transfer through direct contact between sick and healthy animals.
It could also be indirect transmission through feeding with garbage containing infected meat; fomites (premises, vehicles, implements and clothes) and biologic vectors (soft ticks).
The Philippine Government has drawn strategies for ASF prevention which includes banning of pork importation from affected countries, avoid swill feeding, and educate the people.
She said the government has been implementing to block the entry of smuggled shipments, luggages from ASF affected countries, hand carried items, food wastes from international airports and seaports.
Adriatico bared that there are 15 countries affected with ASF namely: Russia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Maldives, Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium, Lalvia, Poland, Romania, China, South Korea, Zambia, Mongolia, and Vietnam.
According to Adriatico, the Top 10 pork producing countries are China, European Union, United States, Brazil, Russia, Vietnam, Canada, Philippines, Japan, and South Korea wherein China ranked No. 1 and Philippines is number 8.
Adriatico urged everyone to take part in the campaign against ASF because this has no treatment, no vaccine, and highly contagious, posing danger to the swine industry.
On the issue about Rice Tarrification Law otherwise known as RA No. 11203 which the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRRs) are about to finish, Cecile Opada, Regional Rice Focal Person-Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office (DA-RFO)7 said the government is just to fulfill international commitment as new member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. Among its objectives are to ensure the availability of rice in the domestic market for the accessibility of greater majority of the population by allowing more private traders (big or small) to participate in importing rice;
Lower domestic rice prices to levels that would be affordable to the greater majority of the population; make domestic market function effectively and efficiency with much reduced or no government intervention, provide farmers equivalent protection with the imposition of 35% higher tariff rates on the rice imports and preferential assistance to rice farmers, adversely affected by tarrification; to provide opportunity for farmers to earn more in the world market.
The law also lifted the restriction on rice exports to encourage farmers to produce much better quality heirloom/ traditional rice geared to export, provide support and safety nets to farmers, especially those that will be adversely affected.
She said that in view with this, the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) was established to fund key interventions that will improve productivity and competitiveness, enhance the value chain and increase farm incomes.
She added that the excess tariff revenue collection will still be given to farmers to provide preferential support to farmers who will be greatly affected.
Karlo Ceasar C. Abarquez, Information Officer, Agriculture Credit Policy Council (ACPC) discussed thoroughly about the DA-Credit Policy on how it would be very useful to the farmer-entrepreneurs through an Easy Access Loans.
Abarquez said these types of loans aim to provide easy-to-access loans to marginal and small farmers and fisher folks by tapping the lending conduits in extending loans.
She explained the lending conduits select, evaluate, approve and collect loans from borrowers under agreed guidelines with the ACPC.
The ACPC extends zero cost funds to lending conduits that in turn must extend non-collateralized loans at reduced interest rate (6% p.a.)
Gov. Edgar M. Chatto in his inspirational message thanked the farmers, fishers, farmers’ organizations, cooperatives and growers, processors and entrepreneurs in sharing their time in the gathering.
Gov. Chatto informed the participants of the forum regarding the completion of several projects to include the New Bohol Panglao International Airport, new Capitol building, among others.
He said the three pillars for growth and development of the province are the agriculture, tourism and Information Communication Technology (ICT).
Chatto urged the Boholano farmers to double their efforts to produce more agricultural products to cater to the needs of the increasing number of tourists, estimated at 1.5 million, coming to Bohol adding to the 1.3 million Boholano populace.
The governor also thanked the Boholanos in helping Bohol maintain its status as “food basket” in the entire Central Visayas.
Gov. Chatto informed the people that his term as governor will end on June 30 but still he will continue to serve the Boholanos as he is running as congressman in the first district of Bohol this coming May 13 election.
House Deputy Speaker Arthur Yap gladly informed the people of his House Bill No. 37 that was already passed into Law, the Republic Act 10969 or Free Irrigation Act.
Congressmen Yap in his solidarity message underscored the importance of the law that would benefit the farmers in the entire country for free irrigation water if they have tilled the rice fields with an areas of 8 hectares (has.) and below.
Being a former agriculture secretary he has given the most important support to agriculture for food or domestic security.
Yap urged the farmers of not being contented to become the mere farmers but the entrepreneurs of their own produced products.
He asked the Boholanos to continue supporting his endeavors for the good of Bohol.
On his part, First District Congressman Rene Lopez Relampagos in his message informed the people his strong support to agriculture.
Relampagos recalled that when he was the governor in the province he established the Barangay Livestock Aide (BALA) which has been very useful in shaping up the agricultural framework of the province.
He also urged the farmers to become entrepreneurs and to go to other places and adopt successful agricultural innovations.
Board member Ricky Masamayor said that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has always been looking into more developments for the good of the farmers.
Assistant Provincial Agriculturist Larry M. Pamugas acknowledged the thousands of participants after Dauis Mayor Marietta T. Sumaylo delivered a warm welcome to those who participated in the forum.
Board Member Jade Bautista in the 3rd District of Bohol also graced the affair.
Provincial Veterinarian Stella Marie D. Lapez formally closed the forum. (Atoy Cosap)