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African swine fever: Farmers schooled on dangers

While an intensive ASF awareness campaign is underway in the Western Cape, imports, exports and bilateral agreements between South Africa and Finland are being discussed

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Following the unprecedented outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the Western Cape nearly two months ago, farmers in the province are now being informed about the dangers of the highly contagious disease.  

In February, the Western Cape minister for agriculture, Ivan Meyer, announced that ASF was identified for the first time in the province. The outbreak occurred on two smallholder farms in Mfuleni, Eerste River. 

Since then, the South African Pork Producers Association (SAPPO) have been intensifying its efforts to suppress outbreak levels through raising awareness.

Biosecurity, biosecurity, biosecurity

According to Dr Cilliers Louw, SAPPO’s Western Cape liaison for veterinary services, the province’s awareness campaign is in full swing and farmers are being made aware of the dangers of ASF.

“Biosecurity is the main talking point. Farms in the Overberg and Swartland districts are being informed about the dangers of buying pigs from the Mfuleni area and surrounds,” he says.

Dr Cilliers Louw is SAPPO's Western Cape liaison for veterinary services. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi | African Swine Fever | ASF
Dr Cilliers Louw is SAPPO’s Western Cape liaison for veterinary services. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi
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Affected areas in the province were prohibited from selling their stock after an immediate ban was placed on the sale and movement of live pigs from Mfuleni.

READ: African swine fever: Western Cape bans sale of live pigs

SAPPO earlier this month reported that pig mortalities remained relatively low and that the spreading of the disease had slowed down. The culling of some 300 pigs have commenced with the assistance of the SPCA, the department of environmental affairs, the police, a waste company, and the local joint operations committee.

In a recent update newsletter, SAPPO called the culling of ASF affected pigs as “an emotional and very traumatic experience for all concerned.”

Contingency plans and tightened export relationships

Meanwhile, Louw says that the Western Cape ASF outbreak is being monitored closely by the department of agriculture’s veterinary service.

Johan Kotze, CEO of the South African Pork Producers' Organisation. Photo: Supplied/FoodForMzansi | African Swine Fever | ASF
Johan Kotzé, CEO of the South African Pork Producers’ Organisation. Photo: Supplied/FoodForMzansi

“SAPPO is working closely with the department and city of Cape Town to resolve the current disposal obstacles.

“A new action and contingency plan is being drawn up and will hopefully facilitate future disease outbreaks and culling projects in the Western Cape,” says Louw.

Meanwhile in an unrelated matter Johann Kotzé SAPPO’s chief executive officer, have hinted at closer ties being formed between South Africa and Finland.

“I had a meeting with the Finnish embassy. We discussed imports and exports and the bilateral agreements between South Africa and Finland. Finland regards Africa as a key role-player in its future import and export strategy,” Kotzé said.

ALSO READ: African swine fever: Green light for culling of 15 000 pigs

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Duncan Masiwa
Duncan Masiwa
DUNCAN MASIWA is a budding journalist with a passion for telling great agricultural stories. He hails from Macassar, close to Somerset West in the Western Cape, where he first started writing for the Helderberg Gazette community newspaper. Besides making a name for himself as a columnist, he is also an avid poet who has shared stages with artists like Mahalia Buchanan, Charisma Hanekam, Jesse Jordan and Motlatsi Mofatse.
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