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Tboung Khmum on alert over ASF

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
An outbreak of ASF has hit two villages in O’Raing-ov district. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Tboung Khmum provincial agriculture department is on high alert following the discovery of African Swine Fever in two villages earlier this week.

Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon on Tuesday reported an outbreak of ASF in Kampong Serey and Svay villages in Mien commune, making Tboung Khmum the second province after Ratanakiri to be hit by the disease.

Heng Piseth, the department’s director, yesterday said officials are going around asking all village chiefs to check if there are any sick or dead pigs in their areas and spray disinfectants following the outbreak in O’Raing-ov district.

Mr Piseth noted that authorities have thus far found 10 infected pigs which died of ASF in the two villages since June 23.

“I have asked our officials to distribute information about ASF to the chiefs of each village and request them to check if there are sick and dead pigs in their villages,” he said. “The village chiefs are also being asked to help disseminate information about the disease to their communities.”

Mr Piseth added that veterinary officials are going around spraying disinfectant in the homes of villagers who raise pigs in Kampong Serey and Svay and nearby villages, noting that roads at the affected villages, and vehicles which have travelled along them are also being disinfected.

African Swine Fever was first detected in Ratanakiri’s O’Yadav district in March and later spread to O’Chum district. More than 2,100 pigs either died or were culled.

Provincial agriculture officials said there were no new cases in the province since April.

The Agriculture Ministry on Tuesday asked the General Department of Animal Health and Food Production to cull all pigs in the two villages where ASF was detected in Tboung Khmum.

It also suspended pork trade, prevented the transport of pigs and pork products within a three kilometre radius around the affected areas and continues to monitor the transportation of pigs within a 10 kilometre radius.

On Tuesday, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation said that ASF continues to spread within East and Southeast Asia in countries such as China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mongolia, North Korea, and most recently in Laos, noting that millions of pigs perished or have been culled.

The FAO said that the spread of ASF raises concerns over food security for millions of people dependent on pig farming. The outbreak is particularly affecting vulnerable subsistence farmers as they usually lack the expertise or funds necessary to protect their herds from the disease.

“This disease poses a serious threat to the livelihood and food security of large numbers of people relying on the production and processing of pigs,” an FAO statement said. “Pig meat accounts for almost half of the meat quantity produced in the sub region and is a key source of animal protein and income.”

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