Gov’t urged: Boost biosecurity vs ASF, other diseases

Biosecurity measures, including the setting up of first-border quarantine facilities at different ports for agricultural products, should be implemented to prevent the spread of animal diseases

The government should do more to keep an eye on African Swine Fever and other animal diseases to improve the country’s biosecurity measures, an agriculture business leader said.

In a recent public webinar, Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. president Danilo Fausto said that improving biosecurity measures is essential for livestock, poultry, and dairy industries.

He said that only 15 percent of raw materials needed are made in the United States. This is because of problems like high production costs and inconsistent meat quality, among other things.

Fausto urged the government to solve ASF and other animal diseases to make the country’s livestock, hogs, poultry, and dairy industries more competitive.

He also said that repopulating swine is necessary to make up for litter lost due to ASF.

Fausto said that the corn industry also needs to grow by getting better facilities and tools. Small farmers and people who raise chickens in their backyards use corn to feed chickens. Feeds make up more than half of the cost of producing pigs, chickens, and cows.

For the dairy industry to be more productive, he said, there needs to be a buildup of the herd through genetic improvement and technical help. It is also important for local farmers to keep the government’s milk-feeding program going.

The leader in agribusiness also called for a real-time information network system to be set up.

“Revive the price and volume watch task force composed of different agencies and stakeholders involved in trade to determine current and projected demand and supply conditions,” he said.

Livestock, poultry industry outlook

Fausto, an awardee of the 2016 National Gawad Saka Outstanding Agri-Entrepreneur Award, also made predictions about the livestock and poultry industries.

“Many small commercial farms will close [while some will be] acquired by larger farms to scale up — leading to further market concentration,” Fausto said.

He added that people would stop raising poultry in their homes. The move, Fausto said, would “create a void and opportunity” for commercial farms.

Fausto also believes pork imports from other countries would increase to meet domestic demand. He mentioned that cold chain operations would improve because of added imports.

At the same time, he said more people will choose to eat chicken over pork because of its cheaper price.

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