Swine fever out­break not seen as a big threat

The Sunday Independent - - Business Report - Luy­olo Mken­tane

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.

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