Outbreaks of swine fever worries government

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Agriculture and Livestock Deputy Minister Luxon Kazabu has expressed worry at the persistent outbreaks of African swine fever in Zambia.

Mr Kazabu said the outbreaks of African swine fever were a result of livestock farmers’ failure to confine their pigs.

He told ZANIS in Lusaka today that there was need for pig owners especially in the villages to develop a culture of confining their animals to avoid disease outbreaks.

“The problem we have is that people keep pigs but the pigs are just left to run around without being kept in a controlled environment. That way African swine fever will become endemic in this country,” he said.

Mr. Kazabu said areas near national parks were more susceptible to African swine fever outbreaks because domestic pigs easily acquire the disease from warthogs which are carriers of the disease.

The Deputy Minister said it was highly likely that the swine fever outbreak that has been reported in Kasempa district in North-western province could have originated from an area around the Kafue national park.

He said government always finds it very difficult to control the disease as well as compensate affected farmers in areas where the animals are not kept in a controlled environment.

Mr. Kazabu also said it was unfortunate that government will not be compensating owners of affected pigs in Kasempa district because their animals were a controlled environment.

“Unfortunately government does not compensate unless where pigs are reared in confinement. Right now we are not even slaughtering any pigs in Kasempa because how do we find them when they are just running around,” he asked.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister said swine fever, which broke out in some areas of Choma district, has been brought under control.

He said officers from his ministry have disinfected the area and farmers in the area will soon begin restocking the pigs.

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