South Africa’s compartment system came under the spotlight when African swine fever (ASF) occurred in 2020 and 2021 on commercial farms. SAPPO has since then been strategising on how to improve biosecurity, especially in compartments. A rigorous process of reviewing the compartment standard to align it with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) ASF compartment guidelines and address issues identified in the SAFOSO analysis, is nearing completion. We thank the veterinarians, both private and state, who have provided input.
The final step is to send the standard to the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development (DALRRD) for their input and sign off. An important component of a compartment is compliance by everybody who enters the unit all the time (24/7/365). It is apparent that the fewer activities that require goods or people passing across the fence line, the more likely it is that compliance would be guaranteed. Examples include feed deliveries where the vehicles enter the compartment and any other activity where cross-contamination is probable.
A more robust compartment system would also improve our chances of having compartments listed on the OIE, which should translate to improved export possibilities.