Bantay ASF sa Barangay and INSPIRE programs get strong backing from private sector
Company (UNAHCO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Agriculture (DA) to further strengthen the government’s programs in controlling the spread of the dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF) and reviving the badly hit swine industry in a program held yesterday, March 17, in Quezon City.
Led by Agriculture Secretary William Dar and UNAHCO President and COO Ricardo Alba, along with several private sector partners, the MoU signing signified the company’s commitment to helping effectively manage, control, and contain ASF through the agency’s twin program, Bantay ASF sa Barangay (BABay ASF) and Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (INSPIRE).
“We are deeply honored to sign the MoU with the DA. The extent of ASF has reached an alarming proportion and the DA openly welcomes our help. This is a class example of public and private helping each other,” Alba said.
DA’s BABay ASF is a multi-stakeholder partnership program between the public and private sector and veterinarians that aims to control the spread of ASF in the grassroots level through biosecurity, surveillance and monitoring, as well as restocking of swine farms affected by the disease. Meanwhile, the Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (INSPIRE) aims to accelerate the repopulation and recovery of the hog industry to ensure availability, accessibility, and affordability of pork and pork products.
Under the partnership, UNAHCO will create a working group composed of its industry partners and assign a focal person that will coordinate with the DA’s Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), National Livestock Program (NLP), and Regional Field Offices (RFOs). Also, UNAHCO will lead industry partners to support the DA in implementing the BABay ASF and INSPIRE with the provision of gilts to breeders, as well as piglets, disinfectants, vitamin supplements, technology transfer, and technical manpower for coordination and mobilization.
UNAHCO has been a consistent partner of the DA in rehabilitation and repopulation programs for small-scale and commercial pig farms. Part of the company’s programs in support of the DA’s initiatives in reviving the hog industry include “Pigkitaan Natin Muli”, a swine repopulation program for small-scale hog raisers under the Pigrolac Hog Feeds; and the “Singko Kasado Biosecurity Campaign” that educates backyard hog raisers on the biosecurity.
“We stand committed after having been in the industry for more than 54 years. We would like to reassure the DA, under the leadership of Secretary Willian Dar, that we will be with you [in this endeavor] and I hope we will succeed,” said Alba.
Other industry leaders present at the MoU signing include the Philippine College of Swine Practitioners (PCSP), International Training Center on Pig Husbandry (ITCPH), Pig Improvement Company (PIC), Provimi: Cargill, Novus International, Kemin Industries, Philippine Association of Feed Millers, Inc. (PAFMI), and SGS Philippines.
During his keynote address, Agriculture Secretary Dar reiterated his call to their partners– the LGUs, hog industry stakeholders, veterinary associations, universities and research institutions, farmers’ cooperatives and associations, and backyard and commercial hog raisers– to join in implementing stringent and sustainable biosecurity measures against ASF.
“I am confident that with this partnership, we can attain our goal of reviving the swine sector, which is very crucial in our food security efforts, considering that the swine industry is one of the biggest contributors of our overall agricultural output. More work is to be done if we are to emerge victorious in this battle,” Secretary Dar said.