The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned that the African Swine Fever, if not immediately contained, could pose a huge threat to food security in Nigeria.
FAO Country Representative, Fred Kafeero made this observation during the opening ceremony of a workshop for pig value chain operators in Plateau State.
African Swine Fever (ASF) virus is a large, double-stranded DNA virus of the Asfarviridae family. The virus causes hemorrhagic fever, with a high mortality rate in domestic pigs.
The virus had broken out in several pig farms in Lagos and other parts of the country, killing thousands of pigs and incurring losses for several pig farmers.
Kafeero, who was represented by the FAO Communication specialist, David Tsokar, noted that the situation was peculiar, hence the need to gear up efforts to prevent another outbreak.
He said, “Unlike other Trans-boundary Animal Diseases (TADs), ASF has no known cure or vaccine.
“The only remedy for its prevention remains strict adherence to basic hygienic practices commonly known as biosecurity measures. Operators, therefore, need to embrace biosecurity measures as an option.
“We are training operators in the value chain in 20 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“The operators in the value chain are very strategic in the effort to control the spread of the disease. They are the marketers, distributors, producers and farmers that must be properly capacitated to save livelihoods and mitigate food insecurity.”
On his part, the Director and Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria, Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Dr Olaniran Alabi noted that the disease outbreak caused a huge loss for the industry.
He, therefore, noted that the training was one of the efforts of the government to curb the spread of the virus.
According to him, the Federal Government had earlier distributed disinfectants, protective equipment, surveillance kits, among other things, across the federation.
“As front liners in pig business in Nigeria, it is envisaged that we will continue to collaborate to further enhance our successes towards the containment of the ASF outbreaks.
“Thus, the facilitators to this training have been carefully selected based on merit and most of them are not only experts on the prevention and control of ASF but pig farmers themselves”, he explained.
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