ADM recently supported the biosecurity training sessions for Bantay ASF sa Barangay (BABay ASF) project volunteers in Northern Mindanao.
BABay ASF is a proactive biosecurity, surveillance and repopulation effort led by the Philippine College of Swine Practitioners (PCSP), the Department of Agriculture (DA), and its partners from the private and public sectors. This interdisciplinary program aims to stop the spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF) and revive both backyard and commercial swine farmers' livelihoods.
Aiming to gear up the BABay ASF Volunteers, a training session, dedicated for the trainers, was held last January with the help of the International Training Center on Pig Husbandry (ICTPH). The first group was composed of volunteers from ADM, the Provincial Veterinarian’s Office (PVO) of Misamis Oriental, and the City Veterinarian’s Office (CVO) of Iligan.
“From biosecurity measures to basic safety protocols all the way to testing, the people behind the BABay ASF project shared with us all the information that we need to effectively take on our designated roles in counteracting the ASF crisis. Through a series of Zoom meetings and virtual trainings, we were properly equipped with the knowledge that would help us address the problem,” said Dr. Dahlia Valera, the City Veterinarian of Iligan City.
Another training session, spearheaded by CVO Iligan trainers,was attended by around 250 volunteers who will serve as Barangay Biosecurity Officer (BBO), covering five barangays in Iligan City, including Abuno, Tinapoy, Digkilaan, San Roque, and Dalipuga.
“The training program allowed us to sharpen the skills that each volunteer needs to perform well in the field. It brought us to a higher level of skills and knowledge,” said Raul Milang, BABay ASF volunteer and a District Sales Manager of ADM in West Mindanao.
The biosecurity officers will take the lead in implementing area risk management, surveillance and monitoring, and biosecurity measures for commercial and backyard farms.
ADM, through its CSR arm ADM Cares, provided funding assistance to PCSP to cover the training of volunteers, farmer seminars, and procurement of more than 700 ASF Test Kits and PCR test kits.
ADM also believes that the fundamental value of “Bayanihan,” which means working together as a community to achieve a common goal, will be the driving force for success in the BABay ASF Project.
"Amid these trying times, we believe in the power of 'Bayanihan.' Our strong support for the BABay ASF project is our way of helping ensure the country secure the 'Green Zones' in Northern Mindanao against ASF. Through our concerted efforts, we can achieve the repopulation of hog farms in the affected areas so that all hog farmers can continue their livelihoods," said Dr. Loren Mapua, ADM Animal Nutrition Philippines Managing Director.
The deputized volunteers will strictly follow quarantine protocols since ASF is currently present in 11 regions, 34 provinces, 392 municipalities, and over 2,000 barangays nationwide.
“People in LGUs, particularly in the barangays, and the farmers themselves have deepened their involvement in our fight against ASF. It has increased their awareness on the need for each other’s cooperation,” said Dr. Benjie Resma, Provincial Veterinarian of Misamis Oriental.
ASF surveillance and monitoring protocols, such as the random collection of specimens from pigs for slaughter within the target barangays will help deputies keep track of the ASF movement within the affected regions.
Meanwhile, knowledge of biosecurity procedures will help them assess the situation and take the actions needed when infected hogs are identified in the area. It will ensure that unaffected swine farms are safeguarded, infected hogs are culled, and affected swine farms are prepared for restocking.
“The heart of every successful project is authentic commitment and support from everyone involved. With the collaborative effort of stakeholders and engagement of Local Government Units in properly implementing the project, nothing can stand in the way of achieving success. All that we need is everyone's utmost support,” said Lovilla Tacogdoy, a BABay Volunteer and ADM AN Philippines Mindanao Regional Sales Manager.
With the successful implementation of the project, affected areas can start their quarantine exit plan. Local recognition as ASF-free zones will follow once complete absence of ASF is declared. Distressed hog raisers will then be allowed to restock their farms following prescribed protocols.
During the farm's restocking process, deputies will continue to monitor pigs weekly to ensure that clinical signs of ASF remain absent. Hogs will undergo regular ASF Nanogold Biosensor testing for four months to validate the virus's eradication.
David Gregana, the Key Account Manager of Wisium Philippines and BABay ASF volunteer when asked about other steps needed for the project to succeed said, “Self-awareness of good and honest practices in the livestock industry from farming, production, manufacturing, processing, sales, marketing & other facets are tools that can help our farmers. In short, a sense of nationhood or Bayanihan.” Dave was instrumental in advocating the project to ADM Cares which granted funding for the said endeavor.
"Other than the volunteers' efforts to secure the areas against ASF, the cooperation and support of LGUs, swine farmers, and residents of the barangay is paramount to win this fight against ASF. Only by working together can we keep our hog farmers' livelihood safe and profitable," said Dr. Max M. Montenegro, PCSP Bantay ASF sa Barangay project leader.
To learn more about ADM’s Animal Nutrition business, visit www.admanimalnutrition.com.