Minimal impact of ASF to region’s economy

Business leaders see minimal impact of the African Swine Fever (ASF) to the business and economy of Davao City and the entire region.

Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII) president John Carlo Tria told Edge Davao they have yet to see the impact of ASF in terms of the prices of pork and meat products.

“For ASF, since kusog man ang efforts to contain the spread in localized areas, we’ll see if there will be an impact after a few months on pork prices,” he said.

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) regional governor for Davao Region Arturo Milan said the impact of ASF will be less if not very minimal because only the hog raisers where the disease is found will be affected.

According to Tria, there are many substitutes for people to eat like chicken, fish, vegetables, however, government should monitor the prices of these food closely to prevent it from unreasonable increases.

“As to the impact to the regional or national economy, based from the past experiences, the spread of these types of diseases will not last long so the impact feel to the region is very small.”

However, Milan said it is important that the government must institute measures to contain the spread of ASF as soon as possible.

In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the government has been dealing with the ASF since last year and the effort to contain this epidemic is spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Dominguez said containing the ASF required culling infected pigs and safely disposing of them. To date, DA reported that the number of culled pigs has reached 193,350 and this led to losses for swine cultivators and a decline in the value of the country’s hog production last year by 9.5 percent compared to the preceding year.

“We continue to successfully intercept contaminated pork imported from other countries through the Bureau of Customs’ intensified anti-smuggling campaign and the Bureau of Animal Industry’s heightened meat inspection efforts. Last January 24, the two agencies intercepted 25 tons of meat from Guangzhou, China which tested positive for ASF,” he said.

Dominguez mentioned that the disposal of the contaminated meat started on January 31 and is currently ongoing at the Integrated Waste Management Facility in Cavite. Furthermore, the Bureau of Customs has also filed cases against entities that were caught smuggling goods contaminated with the disease.

He assured that the DA is strictly enforcing biosecurity measures and setting up more quarantine checkpoints, as well as providing more disinfection facilities to manage, contain, and control the spread of ASF.
He said zero-interest rate loan assistance programs will also be given to affected hog raisers. He also reiterated the announcement made by the DA that ASF is non-transmittable to humans, and that pork is safe for consumption.