ILOILO CITY, July 13, 2023 – Following municipal and nationwide precautionary measures and recommendations, the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program consults farmers regarding shifting of livelihood interventions for seven (7) identified farmers’ associations (FAs) after African Swine Fever (ASF) and Avian Influenza (AI) detection in the region.
With the detection of confirmed cases of ASF in the town of Pulupandan and the cities of Bacolod and Victorias in Negros Occidental in the previous months, Moises Padilla, a SAAD-covered municipality, issued the Memorandum Order 337 Series of 2023 banning the entry of all live pigs, boar semen, pork, and processed pork products as a precautionary measure to avoid the spread of ASF in the province.
Additionally, on May 3, 2023, DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban issued a memorandum ordering all regional field offices to temporarily ban the nationwide dispersal of ducks during the AI outbreak. The communication letter made clear that additional disease investigations by the local and national veterinary services revealed that the majority of these incidents were first detected in grazing ducks and then spread to other poultry species. Therefore, the dispersal of ducks through government programs is temporarily prohibited until further notice in order to prevent the spread of the disease to AI-free areas and effectively contain it in affected localities.
The conduct of community consultation through the Beneficiary Needs Assessment (BNA) among the communities in Western Visayas has reached the livelihood rollout phase. Following the municipal and nationwide orders, the ASF detection and avian influenza outbreak will impede the distribution of lined-up livelihood projects for seven (7) identified farmer’s associations (FAs) in Iloilo.
The Minahan Hog Raisers’ Association, Kaunlaran Sa Sitio Can – Awi Farmers And Farmworkers’ Association, Grupo Sang Manug Sagud Sang Baboy Sa Moises Padilla in Moises Padilla and Hacienda Agho Camandag Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association in La Castellana has a total member count of 120.
Leading to the transition, SAAD Region 6 revisited the BNA results and solicited insights from affected FAs. Possible livelihood replacements include caracao draft and breeding, layer chicken egg, and native chicken production. The shift is complex specifically in the process of cost-matching the allocated budget from the previous planned interventions.
Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer (APCO) – Negros Occidental Patrick Sta. Romana said, “As implementers of the SAAD Program, we deemed these changes necessary to curtail the spread of animal diseases such as ASF and bird flu as well as comply with the mandates of our department, and avoid project failure.”
The simultaneous meetings from June 22-23 were led by APCO Sta. Romana together with SAAD regional implementers Jezer John Chispa and Janene Gallego, in coordination with Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) representatives. These meetings gathered officers and members of 4 FAs in Moises Padilla and 3 FAs in La Castellana.
Livelihood project shift
Ensuring smooth distribution, SAAD Program in Western Visayas conducted early procurement to ensure timely delivery and synchronous distribution of inputs. Since inputs for canceled projects are already obligated as early as June 2023, cancellation is necessary with the approval of the DA’s Regional Procurement Section.
After the finalization of the project shift, the Regional Project Management Support Office will then process the procurement requests for the livelihood project replacements which include native chicken and chicken layer egg production projects with the same budget allocation as the previous projects.
The modification of the livelihood assistance will still be beneficial to FAs since it would curb the further spread of ASF or AI which could endanger the local swine and poultry industries. Further, the towns of La Castellana and Moises Padilla are currently among the province’s leading producers of in-demand livestock commodities such as fresh eggs and live and dressed native chicken, thus FAs can still pursue these income-generating ventures. ###
Writer: Christ John B. Gamarcha, DA-SAAD Region 6 Information Officer