Swine fever outbreak not seen as a big threat
THE SOUTH African pork industry, which is still reeling from financial losses following the listeriosis scourge, has said that it would not be overly affected by the outbreak of African swine fever in the Northern Cape.
The SA Pork Producers’ Organisation veterinary liaison officer Peter Evans said the industry was encouraged by the authorities’ swift decision to control the outbreak.
Evans said measures that had been put in place would not have much impact on the industry, which lost R1 billion as a result of the listeria outbreak last year.
“This is not something new that we have not encountered in the past. We had a few small cases of African swine fever in Barkly West in 2017.
“There were two or three isolated incidents. The outbreak was put under control very quickly,” added Evans.
Last year, the industry was forced to slaughter 2.85 billion pigs, about 54 000 a week.
Steve Galane, director of communications at the national Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said the Northern Cape outbreak, which was reported in a farm in Springbok, had been contained.
Galane said the affected pigs were quarantined.
“We have surveillance teams all over the Northern Cape.
“We are making a call to pig farmers to guard against their pigs roaming around because the fever can only be passed from one infected pig to another by way of contact, ticks or feeding of infected swill.”
The price of pork products has fallen 36 percent since the beginning of the year.
Absa agribusiness senior agricultural economist Wessel Lemmer said South Africa’s pork industry was not big and would not really be affected by the African swine fever outbreak.
However, he called for high-security measures to be implemented to make sure wild hogs didn’t come near commercial production units.
“I don’t think this fever will get to our commercial producers. They know about swine fever and that it’s prevalent among wild hogs. It’s not something like the listeriosis we had,” he said.
“Northern Cape is not even one of our major pork producing areas. I doubt this will have a really big impact on the industry.
“As long as veterinary services do their job and keep it under control, it’s fine.”
A Superspar employee packs away chicken Vienna sausages, one of the causes of the listeriosis outbreak. A source says this was completely different to the swine flu doing the rounds now.