African Swine Fever: FAO, FMARD, upskill pig value chain operators

African Swine Fever: FAO, FMARD, upskill pig value chain operators

As a move to curtail the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Nigeria, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) are training pig value chain operators in 20 states.

FAO Country Representative in Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Fred Kafeero, said on Monday in Jos that the ASF, unlike other husbandry animal diseases, had no known cure or vaccine.

Kafeero who was represented by Mr David Tsokar, FAO Communication Specialist, said that ASF’ continued spread had socio-economic and food security consequences if not controlled.

“Pig value chain operators; farmers, marketers, distributors and producers therefore need to embrace bio-security measures as an option to curtail it.

“We are training operators in 20 states and FCT because the operators are very strategic in effort to control and stop the spread.

“They need to be properly trained to ensure livelihoods and mitigate food insecurity and nutrition,” he said.

Kafeero listed the befitting states to include; Adamawa, Delta, Edo, Kaduna, Niger, Gombe, Ebonyi, Lagos, Osun and Imo in batch one.

Others are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Enugu, Nasarawa, Ogun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers and Taraba in the second batch.

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Dr Olaniran Alabi, Director/Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria, Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, said there were recorded outbreaks of the pig disease, ASF.

Alabi said that the disease outbreak started at a major pig farm settlement in Oke Aro located between Lagos and Ogun states.

He stated that the farm settlement is the largest pig farm in West Africa adding that, the outbreak coincided with the onset of the COVlD-19 pandemic.

“As a result of this, the responses to the outbreaks were distorted by the COVID-19 lockdown.

The disease later spread to more states leading to substantial losses to the pig industry.

“Official reports indicated that over 70,000 pigs were lost in three months as result of the disease.

“This figure could be higher, since some affected pig farmers might not remember to report the disease out of frustration,” Alabi explained.

The chief veterinary officer said that the disease had caused huge damage to the pig industry, livelihoods and food security.

He said in order to control the situation, the Federal Government through the Regional Disease Surveillance System Enhancement (REDISSE 11) Project distributed disinfectants and Personal Protective Equipment.

Alabi said rubber boots, surveillance kits, sampling materials among other things were also distributed to the 36 states and FCT.

The chief veterinary officer stressed that staff were also on ground to assist farmers to control the outbreaks.

“With the support from the REDISSE II Project, the outbreak has been brought to a halt and the last confirmed case was in August, this year.

“Therefore, this two-week training is to enhance the skills and knowledge of key stakeholders along pig value chain on biosecurity measures, so that we can together protect our investments in the pig industry.

“As front- liners in pig business in Nigeria, we will continue to collaborate to further enhance our successes towards the containment of the ASF outbreaks.

“Thus, the facilitators in this training have been carefully selected based on merit and most of them are not only experts on the prevention and control of ASF but pig farmers themselves,” Alabi added.

Dr Sipak Shase-et, Director, Veterinary Services in Plateau, commended the organisers for choosing Jos for the training.

Shase-et said that the Plateau weather was conducive for rearing of pigs and other livestock.

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