Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has called for enhancing prevention and containment efforts in the fight against African swine fever (ASF).
|Veterinary wokers cull pigs infected with African swine fever from a household in Tan Hiep A Commune, Kien Giang Province’s Tan Hiep District. — VNA/VNS Photo Hong Dat|
In an urgent dispatch sent to ministries, agencies and authorities of centrally-run provinces and cities, he asked for the prompt detection and culling of sick pigs.
Cases of fraud in which people falsified the number of pigs culled in order to profit from the repayment policy should be strictly dealt with. The veterinary system at all levels should be strengthened and the transportation and slaughter of pigs should be controlled, the PM said.
It was necessary to guide breeders to practise hygiene and antiseptic methods and not use leftovers to feed pigs, he said. Biosecurity measures should be enhanced to protect pig herds after the epidemic is over.
PM Phuc asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to direct localities in how to restructure the animal husbandry industry and diversify its livestock, focusing on developing cattle, poultry and fisheries to offset the shortage of pork products.
According to MARD, African swine fever has been reported in more than 3,000 communes, wards and townships in 52 cities and provinces, resulting in the culling of more than 2 million pigs. 112 previously infected communes in 24 provinces and cities have made it 30 days without any new outbreaks.
The damage already caused by the disease, including compensation for culled pigs and other expenses, was estimated at around VND3.6trillion (US$153.8 million).
Participants at a meeting organised by the MARD to discuss the level of support for breeders and businesses affected by ASF agreed that compensation should be based on the weight of the culled pigs. Localities should calculate the fund based on the market price at that time.
Nguyen Huy Dang, deputy director of the Ha Noi Agriculture and Rural Development Department, said the city had set the compensation rate for affected farmers in line with Government’s policy – VND38,000 ($1.62) per kilogramme of live hogs. However, when the price declined, the department proposed the municipal People's Committee provide support equivalent to 80 per cent of the price announced by CP Vietnam Livestock Joint Stock Company to avoid having a compensation rate higher than the market prices. The money was sourced from the Disaster Prevention Fund, Dang said.
Participants at the meeting also suggested raising the assistance for forces working to cull sick pigs which was equal to the price of hiring local workers, ranging from VND300,000-500,000 ($13-$21) per day.
Profiteers from ASF face harsh punishment
The prime minister has asked the chairpeople of provincial governments to instruct the competent agencies to investigate and strictly handle profiteering cases related to the culling of infected pigs and take responsibility for the results of the fight against African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on June 4 issued an emergency telegram asking ministries, departments and provincial governments to urgently adopt preventive measures to contain the disease.
Due to multiple bottlenecks during the fight against ASF, the rampant spread of the disease and the rising number of infected pigs, the prime minister noted that it is necessary to impose tough sanctions on offenders who profit from supporting funds used for culling infected pigs and those who deliver inaccurate reports on the number and weight of diseased pigs.
In addition, localities across the country were required to focus on strengthening animal healthcare systems and instruct husbandry farmers to work out sanitary measures and disinfection methods and avoid using leftovers to feed their pigs to prevent the spread of the disease.
The prime minister also asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to boost supervision and inspections and encourage the localities to restructure the husbandry sector and diversify their livestock.
A report from the ministry showed that ASF has hit 3,000 communes, wards and towns out of 52 cities and provinces across the country to date, resulting in over two million infected pigs being culled.
The prime minister had earlier asked the relevant ministries and departments and local governments to promptly adopt ASF prevention and fighting measures. However, many shortcomings have been detected and are affecting the efficiency of the fight.
Multiple bottlenecks found during the fight include the slow handling and culling of diseased pigs, profiting from the supporting funds used for culling pigs, weak animal healthcare systems and ineffective supervision.
Apart from this, quarantine and inspection processes were not in line with regulations and quarantine officials failed to closely check pig and pork shipments, causing infected pigs to be transported to other localities and encouraging the rampant spread of ASF in the country.