Podcast: Measures essential to curb African swine fever

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Since April 2019, South Africa had 102 African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks. Dr Dorothea Mostert, a production consultant from CS Vet veterinary production consultancy, says that ASF poses a significant risk to small-scale pig farmers in the country, but that these farmers can put measures in place to protect their businesses from the virus.  

She joins the Farmer’s Inside Track podcast this week to discuss these preventative measures that make a huge difference even for the smallest piggery. 

“Good buyer security starts with fencing in the production area. When doing so, you limit the possibility of contact with contaminated sources such as feral pigs, warthog, bushpig and humans, who can carry the virus on their shoes and clothes,” she says.  

Mostert emphasises that human access to piggeries should especially be limited, and if unavoidable, certain measures need to be taken before access is granted.

“Anybody who wants to access the piggery, staff or visitors, should only do so after going through a minimum of a boot change, and a foot dip. A full change in clothes is advisable.” 

Even pig feed needs to be guarded against ASF, as the virus has the ability to persist in feed. Mostert discourages swill feeding and recommends buying your feed from reputable sources. “Also, when storing the feed, do so in a manner that no contamination from the aforementioned sources can take place.” 

Controlling the outbreaks have proven difficult for pig farmers. Mostert says that the virus is difficult to control because it persists in a variety of environments for an extended period. “This makes pinpointing the source of the infection difficult in some outbreak situations. [The] virus can persist in meat, and remain viable on manure, and the underside of the soles of shoes. It can travel with people and pigs right across the country.” 

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The ease with which the virus spreads make it crucial for pig farmers to take effective preventative measures. “It is crucial that pig keepers and farmers are educated in biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of disease as well as to get them to understand how disease works.” 

ALSO READ: SAPPO reports largest ASF outbreak on record 

Other farmers’ podcast highlights: 

The best agriculture news podcast on the planet also features other highlights for the agricultural sector this week: 

  • The 101 of township farming: Township farming has the potential to reform South Africa’s food systems. Journalist Nicole Ludolph chats to academic and founder of iZindaba Zokudla, Dr Naudé Malan about how to thrive as a township farmer.  
  • Inqola FEED Innovation Prize: FEED co-founder Kevin Naidoo introduces us to the inaugural Inqola FEED Innovation Prize winnerJulian Kanjere, co-founder of FoodPrint.   
  • Farmer Development: FarmSol farming mentor Barry Nel shares advice for how new farmers can succeed in the agriculture sector.  
  • Book of the week: Our book of the week is Deeply rooted – unconventional farmers in the age of agribusiness by the renowned Lisa Hamilton. Food For Mzansi’s Sinelizwi Citizen Journalist of the Year Terri-Ann Brouwers reviews this book. 
  • Farmer’s Tip of the Week: Our farmer tip comes from Dr Sifiso Ntombela from the National Agricultural Marketing Council
  • Soil Sistas: This week’s #SoilSista, powered by Food for Mzansi and Corteva Agriscience, is Gauteng agripreneur Renate Griessel. The farmer left the corporate world of finance to make a difference through composting 

How to listen to Farmer’s Inside Track 

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Option 4:Click here listen using this player. Just click “play”. 

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