Reporting back on the third meeting of the ASF SGE for Africa

The African swine fever (ASF) Standing Group of Experts (SGE) for Africa was established in March 2022 by the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) Regional Representation for Africa, with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), and the Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases Working Group on ASF. South Africa is a founding member, along with Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Togo, and Uganda.

The third meeting of the ASF SGE for Africa was held during the first week of August in Abidjan and was well attended by South Africa (5), some as presenters and others as delegates. The agenda was centred around two major topics:

  1. strengthening biosecurity for ASF in the value chain; and
  2. enhanced surveillance and diagnostics.

The programme was further subdivided into commercial, smallholder/semi-intensive, and backyard/scavenging/free-roaming sectors.

Some key outcomes included:

  1. Improved awareness and training.
  2. Improved enforcement of existing regulations.
  3. Compartmentalisation as a means to provide business continuity.
  4. An integrated approach to biosecurity to address all priority swine diseases (e.g. porcine cysticercosis).
  5. Increasing awareness of biosecurity around animal feed production and supply chain management.
  6. Ensuring that all ASF outbreaks are reported to the WOAH, including in wildlife.
  7. Improving diagnostic and surveillance within member countries.
  8. Improving collaboration among member countries and with the assistance of the AU-IBAR to develop a regional ASF control strategy.

Attendees from South Africa: Prof. Mary-Louise Penrith (University of Pretoria), Dr Misheck Mulumba (Agricultural Research Council Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Campus, ARC-OVR), Dr Livio Heath (ARC-OVR), Dr Leana Janse van Rensburg (Western Cape Veterinary Services), and Dr Peter Evans (SAPPO).

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.