ASF returns to south Indonesia, spreads in Philippines

ASF returns to south Indonesia, spreads in Philippines

aksenovko | Bigstock.com

In China, the Philippines and Russia’s Far East, new cases of African swine fever have been registered in domestic pigs.

After a few months’ absence, African swine fever (ASF) has been detected in the south of Indonesia, and heavy losses of pigs have been reported locally.

Tens of thousands of pigs have died of ASF in the East Nusa Tenggara region of Indonesia, according to Mongabay. Up to 40% of the pigs on the island of Flores are reported to have died. Even this may be an underestimate, as many pig owners do not report their losses.

Since July 2020, losses of animals in this southernmost province of the island nation may have run to hundreds of thousands, according to this source. After declining at the end of 2020, ASF appears to have returned to the region this year.

In the northwest Indonesian province of Bangka Belitung, local media reported suspicions of ASF this month, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

China reports 2 new ASF outbreaks

Over recent days, China’s agriculture ministry has confirmed two new ASF outbreaks.

In the Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region — where ASF-related restrictions were lifted the previous week after an earlier outbreak — ASF virus was detected at a farm in the Yining city region. Of the 466 pigs at the premises, 280 had died.

Within days, 61 pigs were found in a vehicle carrying the animals illegally near Changsha city in Hunan province.

After a previous outbreak and a period of 21 days with no further virus detection, ASF-related restrictions have been lifted in Xiaojin county in Sichuan province.

In northern China, dozens of pig carcasses have recently washed up on the banks of the Yellow River, according to New Indian Express. Although found near the city of Ordos in Inner Mongolia, source of the animals and their cause of death are unknown.

Further evidence has emerged of a rapid resumption of pig production in China after the decimation of the sector by ASF since 2018.

Over the first two months of this year, Chinese imports of Australian wheat were up 480% year-on-year. According to the South China Morning Post, this has occurred despite political tensions between the two states. Australia has achieved a bumper wheat harvest, while China’s commerce ministry attributes strong demand for feed ingredients to the nation’s rapidly recovering pig sector.

Despite the apparent recovery, ASF was recently described as a major risk to the future of Chinese pig production.

ASF in Malaysia ‘under control’

Malaysia’s deputy state agriculture minister for the Sabah reports that the ASF situation in the eastern state is now under control.

Among the control measures carried out was the culling of 387 pigs, according to Borneo Post.

A further 404 pigs have died since the first confirmed outbreak at the end of January. The ASF virus has been detected in seven districts of Sabah, but in no other states. Public awareness campaigns are ongoing.

According to a local wildlife expert, number of the region’s wild bearded pigs will recover from ASF. While mortalities will occur, survivors will soon repopulate the area, reports The Star. It had been feared that the wild animals would be wiped out by the disease.

Philippines: Official forecasts pork price stabilization

Adding to previous pleas from other sources, a senator in the Philippines has this week called on President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a “state of calamity,” reports Philippine Star. Aim of the call is to cancel the latest increase in pork imports, and allow the nation’s pig producers to restore domestic production after ASF outbreaks.

An investigation is scheduled to start next week into allegations of corruption in the issuing of pork import permits, according to this source.

Recently, the president proposed to increase pork imports to 350,000 metric tons (mt) from the previous level of 54,000 mt.

Meanwhile, Philippine News Agency (PNA) has reported that high prices for pork and imported oil are the main reasons for the country’s inflation rate rising above the planned 2-4% band. These conditions will only be transitory, according to the chief presidential legal counsel. He added that pork prices will soon stabilize.

Spread of ASF in the Philippines has led to the loss of more than 3 million pigs, according to the same source. As domestic supplies tightened, pork prices rose sharply. Official ceiling prices set under a temporary law in early February are set to run out soon.

PNA reports that the Department of Agriculture has arranged the delivery of more than 220,000 live pigs to the island of Luzon and the Metro Manila area, where pork supplies are particularly tight.

In the past week, first cases of ASF have been confirmed on the island of Samar, according to the same source. Investigations are ongoing into the source of infection, while more than 200 pigs within 500 meters of the outbreaks are scheduled for culling.

The island belongs to the Eastern Visayas region. In January, the first ASF cases were reported in the province of Leyte in the same region.

India added to list of ASF-affected nations

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) added India to its list of countries considered to be affected by ASF.

APHIS explains that it made this amendment in May 2020 when the disease was first confirmed in India. It has now published notice to this effect in the regulations.

As a result, all pork and pig products from India are subject to the service’s import restrictions, which aim to mitigate the risk of the virus entering the U.S.

According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), first cases of ASF in India occurred in January 2020. The disease has been confirmed in the states of Assam, Manipur and most recently in Meghalaya, as well as in the disputed territory of Arunachal Pradesh.

ASF spreads to new area of Russia’s Far Eastern district

First cases of ASF in Magadan oblast have been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) by Russia’s agriculture ministry. The virus was detected in a herd of 36 pigs, one of which died. Located in the Far Eastern federal district, Magadan shares a border with Khabarovsk oblast, where previous cases of ASF have been recorded.

In the same federal district, Primorsky krai is the location of two recent ASF outbreaks. One of these involved two wild boar, and the other was at a premises described as a “backyard” with 80 pigs. Eight of the animals died in mid-March, while the fate of the rest of the herd has not been reported.

Fiji progresses with proactive ASF prevention

After recent reports of the spread of ASF in its Oceania island neighbor, Papua New Guinea, Fiji has continued a program of disease prevention.

Further training was conducted last week on disease control measures, reported FBC News. Around 60 officials in one region were given specialized information on biosecurity, surveillance, diagnostics, and farm disease controls. A third training session for the area has been planned.

View our continuing coverage of the global African swine fever situation.