July 10, 2024


Philippines adopts artificial insemination to boost swine population amid ASF crisis


The Philippines is turning to artificial insemination (AI) to increase its swine population as part of ongoing efforts to revive the industry, which continues to grapple with African swine fever (ASF), Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.


In response, the country's Department of Agriculture (DA) has issued Memorandum Circular No 28 to implement the Modified Integrated National Swine Production Initiatives for Recovery and Expansion (Inspire) Programme.


The Inspire Programme focuses on accelerating calibrated repopulation and production expansion through farm clustering and consolidation. The aim is to restore the industry's capacity to produce a sufficient supply of hogs and pork.


Since its implementation in 2021, the DA has identified the need to revise, adjust, and improve current strategies to address challenges and practical concerns, ensuring the successful implementation of the hog population initiative.


The memo also noted that ASF is a "very resistant virus" that can survive on clothes, boots, wheels, and other surfaces. Once a farm or herd is affected, eradicating the disease is challenging since there is no treatment or available vaccine at present. While ASF is not a danger to human health, it causes a 100-percent mortality rate among swine herds.


The Modified Inspire Programme will establish breeder farms with quality breeder stocks in select areas and adopt enhanced biosecurity measures. It will prioritise areas or islands free of animal disease.


"This specifically will revive the swine industry, address the shortage of piglets, give livelihood to previous swine raisers, and ensure ownership and sustainability of the intervention," the DA stated.


The agency also expects the programme to reduce the possibility of ASF infection, sustain the production of piglets, and provide technical support to beneficiaries.


The revised programme aims to substitute 10% of imported pork (about 60,000 metric tonnes) by boosting local production. It will apply the sow-weaner operation through the establishment of multiplier and production farms to produce piglets for weaning using AI.


Multiplier farms will house grandparent swine breeder stocks to produce parent stocks, while production farms will maintain parent stocks and/or F1 stocks - the cross between two pure-bred parents - to produce piglets intended for grow-out as slaughter swine.


-      Philippine Daily Inquirer