The pork industry is reeling from the devastating effects of the African Swine Fine (ASF). According to the department of agriculture, land reform and rural (DALRRD) said there 84 cases reported outside ASF controlled areas since 2019.
North West had the highest number of properties reported with 353 samples taken so far. Director of Animal Health at DALRRD, Mpho Maja, said the North West ASF outbreaks mainly occurred in Potchefstroom areas from February 2021.
“The index case being a smallholder that experienced high pig mortalities. Subsequently two further farms have experienced outbreaks, including a commercial piggery. Investigations into the source and spread of these outbreaks were still ongoing” she said.
The South African Pork Producers Organisation (SAPPO) sounded alarm over the increasing cases saying it was putting commercial pig farmers at risk, “thus not surprising that 2 commercial farms have been affected in the past 6 months” it warned in its monthly ASF Update.
To date, DALRDD confirmed 274 cases reported except for KwaZulu Natal, which had no incidents. Since the reported outbreaks, the department has been on an awareness drive to highlight biosecurity measures in order to enable pig owners to prevent infections.
The last reported ASF case occurred in the Western Cape in the early week of May 2021 in Mfuleni north of Khayalitsha. The origin of the outbreak was still unknown but the department was continuing with its epidemiological investigations.
“A survey was initiated by the Western Cape Veterinary Services to determine the extent of the disease spread and in total thus far 17 properties in Mfuleni have been affected as well as one in the Wilderness area and one in the Saldanha area” added Maja.
SAPPO commended the department in keeping trace of ASF outbreaks and said positive cases were quarantined with movement control instituted.
Furthermore, SAPPO granted its support through provision of PPE resources for animal health personnel, disinfectants and equipment to prepare disposal sites.
DALRRD had issued an advisory note to all pig farms to follow biosecurity recommendations;
- Confining pigs to prevent contact with other pigs or wildlife
- Only buying pigs directly from healthy herds;
- Only feeding safe feed to pigs;
- Not allowing visitors contact with pigs;
- Before having contact with pigs, wash hands, only use clean clothes, shoes, equipment and vehicles (that have not been in contact with other pigs).
SAPPO said governments intervention strategy has allowed it to make a policy decision to “move away from incentivising owners to cull /euthanise pigs.”