Economic Sector

Last updated: Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Dealing with African Swine Fever

Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Department of Animal Health under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam announced that African swine fever had spread to nine provinces and cities as of March 6, with over 6,400 pigs killed.

African swine fever has appeared in more than 20 countries and territories in the world. China reported having 110 epidemic outbreaks in 28 provinces and cities and killing nearly 1 million pigs. The fever was also found in many European countries, with Russia incurring nearly US$1 billion of damage. Mongolia detected 10 outbreaks in six provinces.

Hard to stop

Mr. Phung Duc Tien, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said, it is difficult to stop and get rid of the fever as we have a long border line and many open paths along key traffic routes. Moreover, Chinese tourist arrivals in Vietnam increased significantly during Tet - Lunar New Year.

He noted that African swine fever only infects pigs, not humans. Infection forms are varied, including transportation, contact, food, water, materials and intermediary animals.

The official from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development pointed out two hardships in epidemic prevention. Firstly, the merger of veterinary units and plant protection units into a local service center results in ineffective allocation of monitoring forces for disease prevention, including African swine fever.

Besides, although the Government already had a policy on compensations for farmers, it took months to get compensations because of relatively complicated procedures. Thus, many households decided to sell pigs without notice on disease to authorities, causing epidemic breakout, he explained.

Aggressive solution

The Government quickly prohibited all forms of transporting, trading, slaughtering and consuming pigs and pork products of unknown origin. The entire political system was engaged to prevent and control African swine fever, especially police, military and customs agencies at all levels to squeeze trafficking and transporting illegal pigs and pig products.

In addition, the Government requested uninfected localities to take strong action to preclude disease outbreaks. The Ministry of Information and Communications must intensify epidemic prevention information to the masses. Long distance transort of pigs is restricted.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc particularly noted that, if compensation payment to farmers is inappropriate, it must be reported to the government and proposed for change. He supported a higher support for people with pigs killed by African swine fever. A support level equal to 80% of market price was proposed for piglets and pigs for meat and an increase of 1.5 - 1.8 folds was suggested for sows and boars killed. The budget for this is taken from local disaster prevention and control funds. The financing process must be made public, transparent and timely.

For its part and role, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development consulted the Government to host an online meeting with 63 provinces and cities on this issue and issued an action plan for this. The ministry’s leaders must directly inspect and review high-risk provinces and prepare eight quick response teams and laboratories.

According to the Department of Livestock Production, Vietnam currently has 29 million pigs, topping ASEAN, ranking second in Asia and among Top 15 in the world. With 2.5 million households and over 10,000 farms rearing pigs, pork currently accounts for 70% of meat market in Vietnam.

Huong Ly

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