ASF set to undermine recovery in Vietnamese pig sector
The African swine fever (ASF) virus, initially detected in Vietnam in February, has resulted in the culling of over 1.3m domestic pigs in that market, so far, according to an update from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
ASF is a fatal animal disease affecting pigs and wild boars with up to 100% mortality.
Vietnam’s deputy PM hosted a nationwide online conference on ASF on May 13 to assess the situation and implement solutions, said the FAO.
After a decline in 2018, Vietnamese pig meat production had been expected to recover this year, although this now appears unlikely, said Duncan Wyatt, lead analyst, market intelligence, at the UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
The analyst said the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement (FTA), expected to come into force this year, bringing reduced tariff barriers, could see the level of exports by the European pork sector to that Asian market boosted.
Since the China Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) confirmed its first ASF outbreak in Liaoning Province in August 2018, there have been 130 ASF outbreaks reported in various provinces throughout the country, as per the FAO website.
On April 23, MARA said that 1,02m pigs have been culled in an effort to halt further spread of the disease.
In terms of improved risk management approaches to try to limit the spread of ASF, the FAO said the strengthening of intraregional networks on disease management and diagnostic protocols, as well as understanding pig and pork value chains within the country and with neighboring countries is essential.
The organization said studies showed that 62% of the first 21 ASF events in China were related to swill feeding. Epidemiological studies of 68 outbreaks revealed three major causes behind the spread ASF virus - 46% by vehicles and workers without disinfection, 34% by swill feeding, and 19% by transport of live pigs and their products across regions, it added.
The Chinese authorities have since issued directives on banning swill feeding to pigs, said the FAO.
In Mongolia, the officials have reported that over 3,115 pigs, or 10% of the total pig population there, have died or have been destroyed due to the ASF outbreaks. As of April 2 2019, more than 2400 pigs have died or been culled in Cambodia because of the virus spreading to that country.
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