The 4480 ongoing outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) in Asia1 are a threat with global implications. The region accounts for at least 50% of the world’s domestic pig production2 and pork is one of the major sources of animal protein. Unfortunately, reducing ASF’s impact is complicated by the variety of the pig production systems coexisting in the region.
Experts in animal health and national authorities from countries began a two-day meeting on Tuesday to try to find solutions adapted to the Asian context. Collectively known as the Global Framework for Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs) Standing Group of Experts on ASF, participants were discussing ways to prevent further ASF spread. Agreed actions will build on those implemented after the group’s first meeting in April 2019.
Regional animal health experts meet
The Minister Yoshikawa, of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, opened the meeting, stating that developing measures tailored to this region is important such as tightening border control measures to ensure all travelers, prior to departure, not to carry out and carry in items which pose risk of spreading African Swine Fever. He also stressed importance of on-farm biosecurity in order to prevent entry of diseases into farms as well as continuous education and awareness campaign for all relevant players including producers, veterinarian, travelers.
World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific Hirofumi Kugita noted that, “the virus is causing losses and a huge impact to the swine industry in all countries the disease has occurred. With no (existing) vaccine or cure, countries rely on biosecurity and border control as the main tools to protect their pig populations and secure the livelihoods of farmers that depend on them.”
Wantanee Kalpravidh, Regional Manager of the Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) of FAO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, stressed that “together we aim to agree and share a clear set of recommendations, to help countries in the region implement stricter biosecurity and border control, in order to reduce the spread of the disease.”
Kugita and Kalpravidh reiterated that the consequences of ASF in Asia should not be underestimated and emphasized that to minimize the long-term effects of ASF, strong collaboration from the international community is needed.
Regional group of experts on ASF
Since the first reports of the disease in China, in August 2018, the OIE and the FAO have been working extensively to enhance regional cooperation and information sharing that could help reduce the impact of this deadly pig disease. To foster this cooperation, in April 2019, the Standing Group of Experts was created in order to help build national and regional capacities for fighting ASF. This standing group is part of the OIE/FAO global initiative launched at the last OIE General Session to identify key pillars required for the global control of the disease while considering the regional initiatives that already exist.
1 OIE WAHIS report from 19 to 25 July 2019, see the latest reports here
2 57.6% of live pig production in 2017 according to FAO STAT.
Tuesday July 30, 2019/ OIE.