Nigerian pig farmers urged to take precautions to forestall outbreak of ASF

 Chinyere Anyanwu | The Sun

Pig farmers across the country have been advised to take necessary precautions to forestall the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF), an infectious disease that attacks pigs.

The advice came on the back of a recent outbreak of the disease in Indonesia, a situation that has triggered concerns in the country over the disruption of exports to neighbouring countries.

The Indonesian Minister of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, had said that the infections were expected to cause a temporary interruption to the exports of both live pigs and freshly slaughtered pork.

Limpo told reporters at his office in Jakarta that, “currently, the number of pigs infected by the disease is not too high, but it has affected our exports quite a lot. This was because most live pigs and pork produced in Indonesia go for export.”

The disease is harmless to humans but highly contagious and fatal for pigs, as there is no known cure.

Limpo revealed that data from the Department of Agriculture and Food Security of Luwu Timur Regency showed that from May 12 to 15, more than 17,100 pigs, or nearly half of the total 38,556 pigs in the region, died from the disease, and the number is expected to increase.

Ketut Hari Suyasa, chairman of the Bali Pig Farmers Association, said the death toll of pigs infected with the disease is quite high. He said if one pig is infected, pigs in the same pen will most likely die, which resulted in pig sellers engaging in panic selling.

Taking preventive measures, Limpo said his ministry had instructed tight isolation in the affected areas and intensified vaccine intervention to pigs across the country.

As the disease can spread during export trips, the ministry would also trace the flow of distributions at export points or from any properties that could have had direct or indirect contact with affected farms, he said.

To halt the worsening spread, the Ministry of Health urged all breeders to wear personal protective equipment when handling livestock and routinely clean cages and stalls with disinfectant.

Siti Nadia Tarmizi, who is in charge of preventing and controlling zoonotic diseases at the ministry, said, “Breeders must destroy their livestock if they are found sick or die suddenly. We recommend that people not buy sick animals for cooking, even though the price is usually cheaper.”

Recall that breeders in Pig Farm Estate, Oke Aro, Ifelodun Union, Lagos, alone lost animals worth over N12.125 billion to the disease in  2020.

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