North West ASF outbreak an isolated incident

The African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in the North West province that was confirmed this week is an isolated incident and it seems not to pose any risk to the South African commercial pig industry at this stage, says Johann Kotzé, CEO of the South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO). He met representatives of the Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development (READ) of the North West province yesterday.

The outbreak occurred on a game farming operation in the Ditsobotla municipality near Lichtenburg. The farm is isolated and there are no commercial pig producers in the area. The farm is situated approximately ten kilometres from the ASF-controlled zone and is most likely a spill over, Kotzé said.

Four Landrace sows, six piglets and 28 European Wild Boars died and were disposed of. There are also warthogs on the farm. The farmer did not purchase any pigs recently and the piglets were born on the farm. All animals were free roaming. The farm was put under quarantine by Dr Nelmarie Kruger-Rall of READ.

“Dr Kruger-Rall and her team should be congratulated for their speedy and efficient action to prevent the disease from spreading from the farm,” said Kotzé.
    SAPPO will assist READ with an active surveillance on the farm and the surrounding area, while SAPPO’s Business Development team will assist with a survey of the local population and the possible existence of pigs in the area. A training and awareness campaign will also be launched.

Dr Kruger-Rall will ensure that the quarantine measures are upheld for the next three months and that the pigs that were exposed will be contained to stop the risk of ASF spreading from the farm.

Kotzé said that the farmer was feeding swill as part of the pigs’ diet – a practice that should be avoided at all costs. “The outbreak also supports the fact that the compartment production system is one of the most important measures a farmer can take to safe guard his farm against an ASF outbreak,” Kotzé said.

The South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) coordinates industry interventions and collaboratively manages risks in the value chain to enable the sustainability and profitability of pork producers in South Africa.