Philippines says swine fever cases waning

The Philippines’ Agriculture Ministry said August 19 active cases of African swine fever were declining and confined to less than one per cent of the nearly 3,000 villages that recorded outbreaks since the first cases were detected in 2019.

The fall in infections and an ongoing government-funded hog repopulation program had put the Southeast Asian country on track to be able to produce a domestic meat surplus starting in 2023, the ministry said.

The Philippines, the world’s seventh-biggest pork importer before local demand was hammered by the pandemic, has been hit hard by such outbreaks and forced to ramp up pork importation to address an acute domestic shortage and temper food inflation.

“(Active cases are) waning and confined now to just 22 villages,” ministry spokesman Noel Reyes told a media briefing.

The number of positive samples in August was the lowest over the last 12 months, government data showed.

The government has launched a 29.6-billion-pesos (US$586-million) program to boost local pork production focusing on pig repopulation, extending financial assistance to hog raisers, and strengthening biosecurity to control the spread of the virus.

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