• African Swine Fever continues to spread within East and Southeast Asia, leading to the death and the culling of millions of pigs.
• The disease poses a serious threat to the livelihood and food security of large numbers of people relying on the production and processing of pigs. Pig meat accounts for almost half of the meat quantity produced in the subregion and is a key source of animal protein and income.
• The disease is having a significant impact on global markets, with prices of pig meat rising rapidly between February and May 2019.
African Swine Fever (ASF), a contagious deadly viral disease affecting pigs and wild boars, is rapidly spreading across East and Southeast Asia, threatening the livelihood and food security of millions of people, particularly of vulnerable subsistence pig farmers. The disease can spread through direct or indirect contact with infected domestic or wild pigs and can persist for a long time in the environment and in a variety of uncooked swine products. Since China (Mainland) reported the first ever outbreak of ASF in the country in early August 2018 in the northeastern province of Liaoning, the disease has spread rapidly and has now reached almost all provinces of the country. Overall, as of mid-June, 32 out of the 34 provincial level administrative divisions, excluding Macau and Taiwan, are affected in China (Mainland) and more than 1.13 million pigs have been culled in an effort to halt the spread of the disease.
Despite the actions taken by the Government of China, ASF continues to spread. According to FAO’s Emergency Prevention System for Animal Health, the disease has been reported in Viet Nam, Cambodia, Mongolia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and, most recently, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (see Figure 1), where millions of pigs perished or have been culled. While official sources in the affected countries confirm numerous outbreaks and a rapid spread of the disease, it is likely that ASF may have a wider distribution than currently assumed. One of the main drivers of the epidemic is the small scale structure of most of the pig industry in the subregion, as small scale pig farmers often lack appropriate biosecurity measures. In the Chinese pig production system, small scale producers contribute to about 30 percent of the national pig meat prodcution.
In Viet Nam, the share is higher representing 50 percent and it reaches almost 80 percent in Cambodia and the Lao People's Democratic Republic. This hampers the implementation of biosecurity standards, an important measure that can contribute halting the spread of the disease. Small scale producers normally feed their animals with table scraps or uncooked organic refuse (swill) in which the virus can persist if it is not previously cooked. There is also lack of a vertical integration in the pork industry in most of the affected countries, which means that piglets and sows need to be transported between farms and sometimes even across the regions.
This further supports a rapid and far-reaching spread, either from the introduction of infected or ill animals or the entry of contaminated vehicles and equipment in the pig confinements. Finally, intra-regional trade of pig meat products, which may be contaminated, has also contributed to the high prevalence of the disease. As a result, animal health experts believe that the disease will inevitably spread farther in the coming months. This is expected to have far-reaching implications within as well as outside the subregion as China (Mainland) is the largest pig meat producer worldwide and a massive decline of its pig inventories will inevitably have an impact on global pork markets.Source : reliefweb