The number of animals, which either died due to ASF directly or culled due to the spread of the disease, represent more than 10% of the total pig population in China, Vietnam and Mongolia.
Since ASF was first identified in Asia last August, six countries in the region - Cambodia, China, DPR Korea, Lao PDR, Mongolia and Vietnam - have reported a case of the disease.
In the absence of a vaccine, the FAO has urged preventative measures to stop the disease spreading further. “As there is no commercially available vaccine, we need to place greater emphasis on other disease counter efforts. Countries must be vigilant at borders – land, sea or air – in preventing the disease’s entrance and spread through the introduction of infected pigs or contaminated pork products. Outbreaks need to be reported immediately,” said FAO’s chief veterinary officer Dr Juan Lubroth. “We are urging at-risk countries to implement effective biosecurity measures to prevent infected live pigs or contaminated pork products from crossing their borders.”
Recently, the UK launched an awareness campaign to prevent ASF reaching its shores. This followed an incident in Northern Ireland in which the border police successfully identified and confiscated food containing DNA fragments of ASF.
The FAO also urged farmers affected by ASF to not move their pigs or pig products, emergency operators and veterinary authorities to oversee pig carcass disposal through burning or burial on location, and for countries to have sound compensation strategies in place to support cooperating farmers.
It reported that in Viet Nam, where the pork industry makes up almost 10% of the country’s agriculture sector and pork meat accounts for almost three quarters of meat consumed, three million pigs have been culled. The FAO said this has raised concerns that ASF could contribute to an increase in food insecurity in already-challenged communities.
The FAO added that in China, there are at least 26 million pig farming producers, and about 50% of total pork production is by small-scale farmers.
“Some farmers have lost their entire pig herd to the disease and it may take badly-affected countries years to recover from the socio-economic effects of the outbreak,” Lubroth added
Global Meat News will be hosting a webinar on African Swine Fever and its impact on the international meat market on 29 October. To get involved, contact Aline Henderson on our commercial team on firstname.lastname@example.org.