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Ministry to distribute piglets to ASF-hit farmers

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
More than 4,000 pigs have died since ASF was first detected. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Agriculture Ministry has announced a plan to distribute piglets to farmers in areas that were hit by African Swine Fever after the virus has been completely eliminated.

Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon yesterday said the ministry is planning to distribute piglets to farmers in areas that were affected by ASF in order to improve their livelihoods following economic losses caused by the virus.

“We do not yet know how it would be carried out, because we first have to wait to determine that the virus has completely disappeared,” Mr Sakhon said. “We have to carry out biosafety measures and spray disinfectants to kill the virus, which may take one to two months to be effective after no more new cases arise, as the virus can stay in pig cages for one to two months.”

Mr Sakhon said the ministry will first hand over one or two piglets for farmers in some of the provinces as a test to determine whether the virus has been completely eliminated.

He added that if the piglets do not die, the ministry will ask for a budget from the Economy and Finance Ministry for the distribution of additional piglets to farmers in the areas that were affected by the virus.

“So now we are not able to properly distribute the piglets for them to raise immediately, we have to ensure that there are no more new cases, and then we’ll think about the next steps,” Mr Sakhon said.

He noted that Tboung Khmum, Ratanakiri, Svay Rieng and Takeo provinces are under control, adding that only pigs in Kandal province, the last province to be hit, continue to die.

Mr Sakhon also urged the public to report to the ministry of any suspected cases of ASF.

According to a Agriculture Ministry report, until the end of July, more than 4,400 pigs have died or been culled due to the disease.

Nhil Nhoy, a pig farmer in Mien commune, which is located in Tboung Khmum province’s O’Raing-ov district, lauded the ministry’s plan to distribute piglets to farmers whose livestock were affected by the disease and have subsequently experienced financial difficulties.

“We are glad if the ministry, or other organisations and associations could help our pig farmers, as we are facing serious difficulties to due to debts from raising pigs,” Mr Nhoy said. “We spent more than 200,000 riel (about $50) to buy a pig weighing six to seven kilograms, and spend even more to raise and feed them, but they ended up dying due to the disease.”

Mr Nhoy noted that no pigs have died in his village in the past week.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday instructed relevant ministries and institutions to strengthen measures against illegal imports of pigs and pork products to prevent the spread of ASF.

He added that the importing and raising of pigs, as well as the production of pork products in the country, must meet local standards after receiving permission from the Ministry of Agriculture.

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