Brazil and Argentina are leading the combat against African Swine Fever, ASF, in the continent. Last week Tereza Cristina, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, announced the allocation of US$ 500,000 to fight the disease in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, countries where a repeat of outbreaks have been reported.
In Argentina, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, and its food health department Senasa, introduced new measures to prevent the entry of ASF into the country. The measure allows for the necessary tools to implement the strengthening and prevention measures that already exist. It came into force on 10 November and the aim is to reduce the risk of entry, exposure and spread of ASF in both domestic and wild pigs and boars.
In Brazil the resources for the donation come from the partnership program between Brazil and the OAS, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) for the Promotion of Trilateral South-South Technical Cooperation, managed by the Brazilian Cooperation Agency.
The idea is to develop local tools such as risk assessment and laboratory analysis tools to confirm suspected cases, assist with surveillance activities, and develop educational programs to raise awareness about the disease and improve access to animal health services, especially in countries with large numbers of small-scale pig farmers.
“In view of the threat of African Swine Fever, it is essential that all international agencies and national governments work together. If each one acts on its initiative, we will weaken the effectiveness of everyone’s actions, and the losers will be the producers in the affected countries”, said minister Tereza Cristina, when she participated virtually in the Inter-American Meeting on African Swine Fever. IICA’s Director-General, Manoel Otero, also participated in the event, in addition to representatives from other countries from Mercosur.
The health alert in Argentina was declared through Resolution 564 and includes Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia, all of which are working in preventative health alerts that allow budgetary provisions to be available should they face a health emergency. Keeping the pig sector disease-free is a shared responsibility that benefits the entire country and region said the bulletin. The Resolution establishes sanctions for those who fail or violate the measures announced.
African Swine Fever is a viral disease that poses no risk to human health but can decimate pig farms since it is highly transmissible. In Brazil, the last outbreak of the disease was registered in 1981 and the country was declared PSA-free in December 1984. Brazil also has a major pig industry and exports pork to most of the world.