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Boosting biosecurity and border measures to control African swine fever in Asia

31/07/2019 Tokyo, Japan

African swine fever (ASF) has become an enormous concern in Asia with current outbreaks reaching almost 4,480 to date (see the latest reports here and here). The devastating impact after ASF emergence in the region in 2018 has serious global implications. The region accounts for at least 50% of the world’s domestic pig production (57.6% of live pig production in 2017 according to FAO STAT) and pork is one of the major sources of animal protein.

Unfortunately, reducing ASF’s impact is made more difficult by the variety of the pig production systems coexisting in the different countries. Unless measures tailored to the region are implemented, ASF will continue to spread and threaten the livelihood and food security of millions of people.

Experts in animal health and national authorities from countries began a two-day meeting in Tokyo, Japan to find solutions adapted to the Asian context. Collectively known as the Global Framework for Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs) Standing Group of Experts on ASF, participants were discussing ways to prevent further ASF spread. Agreed actions will build on those implemented after the group’s first meeting in April 2019.

Regional animal health experts meet

Mr. Takamori Yoshikawa, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, opened the meeting, stating that developing measures tailored to this region is a high priority. Such measures include tightening border control to ensure all travelers, prior to departure, do not carry in and out items which pose risk of spreading the disease. He also stressed the importance of on-farm biosecurity in order to prevent entry of diseases into farms as well as continuous education and awareness campaign for all relevant players including producers, veterinarian, and travelers.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific Dr Hirofumi Kugita noted, “The virus is causing huge losses and is having a huge impact on the swine industry in all countries the disease has occurred. With no existing vaccine or cure, countries rely on biosecurity and border control as the main tools to protect their pig populations and secure the livelihoods of farmers that depend on them.”

 “Together we aim to agree on and share a clear set of recommendations, to help countries in the region implement stricter biosecurity and border control, in order to reduce the spread of the disease” stressed Dr. Wantanee Kalpravidh, Regional Manager of the Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) of FAO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

Kugita and Kalpravidh reiterated that the consequences of ASF in Asia should not be underestimated. Therefore, to minimize the long-term effects of ASF, strong collaboration from the international community is needed.

Regional group of experts on ASF

Since the first reports of the disease in China, in August 2018, the OIE and the FAO have been working extensively to enhance regional cooperation and information sharing that could help reduce the impact of this deadly pig disease. To foster this cooperation, in April 2019, the Standing Group of Experts was created in order to help build national and regional capacities for fighting ASF. This standing group is part of the OIE/FAO global initiative launched at the last OIE General Session to identify key pillars required for the global control of the disease while considering the regional initiatives that already exist.

 

For more information:

GF-TADs Standing Group of Experts on ASF for Asia

Launched in China, in April 2019, under the umbrella of the FAO/OIE Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs) this group seeks to promote regular exchanges of information and best practices among risk managers and international and national experts. Learn more.

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