Pig Farmers Urged to Protect Industry from Diseases

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Pig farmers are being urged to collaborate with stakeholders to save the industry from current diseases, by Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Pearnel Charles Jr.

The Minister, who was addressing the recent annual general meeting of the Jamaica Pig Farmers’ Association (JPFA) at the Bridge Palm Hotel and Resorts in Osbourne Store, Clarendon, said it is “essential” for conversations to be held about those diseases that have impacted several countries in the region.

“They have the potential to wipe out an industry and erode decades of hard work. We must be proactive in our effort to implement measures on the farms to protect the investments that you have made over the decades,” Mr. Charles told the farmers.

In recent months, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), has warned that the African Swine Flu (ASF), if not combatted, will have a “horrendous impact on the pig industry and the livelihood of those involved in its production”, adding that pork meat is one of the primary sources of animal protein.

Pointing out that the disease poses a threat to the sustainability of the global food supply chain, CARDI said it is a “serious problem” to food security in the region, and the disruption may also lead to dietary changes in the population, which can also increase food import bills.

Mr. Charles Jr. argued that stakeholders in the subsector must be “deliberate” in all that is done to safeguard the investments made in the sector and implement biosecurity measures.

“We can’t afford for it to be wiped out. We must be proactive. Stick to the measures and ensure good animal health,” the Minister added.

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The Minister said partnerships will be deepened with the Association and other stakeholders to maintain growth in the industry, and the Ministry will be ensuring that “better quality” pigs are available.

ASF is a virus, often fatal, which affects both domestic and wild pigs. The disease, though harmless to humans, is highly transmissible between infected pigs and food made from infected pigs and can survive months in the environment.

With no vaccine or treatment available to fight the disease, prevention relies heavily on biosecurity measures and the collaboration of all stakeholders involved in the industry. Biosecurity is crucial to both commercial and small-scale pig production for preventing the introduction and effectively controlling the spread of ASF. Basic biosecurity at the farm level includes segregation, disinfection, and cleaning.

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