VietNamNet Bridge – Phung Duc Tien, deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, speaks to Viet Nam News reporter Gia Loc about measures to prevent the spread of African swine fever in Vietnam, including the southern region.


Phung Duc Tien, deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.–VNS/Photo Gia Loc

What are the risks of the spread of African swine fever in Vietnam, including the southern region?

The risk is high because China has had more than 100 outbreaks in 25 provinces and cities, including Yunnan and Guangdong provinces near our border, with more than 950,000 pigs already culled.

In addition, trade exchange between Vietnam and China has increased, with increased transport of pork between provinces and cities. Weather conditions have also become more complicated, while pig farms remain small scale.  

Earlier this month, a number of cases of African swine fever occurred in the northern provinces of Hung Yen and Thai Binh. The ministry carried out many measures to prevent the spread of the disease, including taking samples for tests, establishing zoning sites where the disease broke out, disinfecting areas, and destroying pigs that had any contact with diseased animals or infected areas.

The transmission of the disease comes from transportation of pigs and contact with diseased pigs and areas. A close watch at border gates and slaughterhouses must be carried out strictly.

People need to be educated about the disease. Banning the slaughter and selling of pork from pigs that have had contact with the disease are needed. They should take the initiative to ensure biosafety in farming.

The southern provinces and cities must also take steps to prevent the spread of African swine fever.

What measures should agencies, provinces and cities take to prevent the spread of African swine fever?

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Wednesday instructed the ministry, relevant agencies and localities to take prompt measures to control African swine fever in Vietnam.

The ministry has issued a document outlining different scenarios to prevent the disease. It has checked preventive measures at pig farms in many provinces and cities. Drills for prevention have also been carried out. Many workshops have been held to identify the character of the virus. Eight response teams have also been set up.

Provinces and cities have to strictly follow the Prime Minister’s instruction and scenarios about disease prevention. Timely discovery and responses are very important.

In 2018, the number of pigs reached 28.1 million, an increase of 27 per cent compared to the previous year. Pig farming contributed to part of the growth of the agricultural industry.

The system of animal health divisions in the country is weak in both quality and quantity, leading to challenges. How can it be improved?

Many provinces and cities do not recognise the importance of animal health divisions. They have not paid attention to upgrading animal health divisions and have in some cases even removed them. The ministry has instructed them to re-build and upgrade the divisions.

Grassroots-level animal health divisions should have a thorough understanding of the PM’s instruction and various scenarios. They should be able to offer suggestions to the local political system and associations about effective preventive measures.

The HCM City Health Animal and Husbandary Division has been keeping a close watch on pig farms in the city and in nearby provinces. It has taken samples for tests and supervision, and encouraged slaughterhouses and farms to disinfect the environment and ensure biosafety to prevent disease. The city has 4,373 pig farms with a total of 301,061 pigs.

The Dong Nai Province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has paid for vaccinations for more than 20,000 pigs that belong to ethnic minority groups and the poor. In addition, many large-scale pig farm owners have vaccinated their pigs. The province has 2.5 million pigs.

The Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has instructed local authorities on how to solve outbreaks, create zoned areas, and take preventive measures. A hotline number to get information about the disease has been set up. Police are ready to work with animal health division staff to check the transport of agricultural products, including pigs at quarantine stations, to discover any diseased pigs or pigs that have contact with infected animals or areas of risk. 

Source: VNS