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African swine fever hits Ebonyi farms, kills 311 pigs

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Ruth Oginyi

Over 311 pigs have died of African swine fever in Ebonyi state.

 A farm located at Ekebeligwe, Izzi was the first farm to be attacked by the viral disease.

Chief Austin Edeze lost 250 pigs to the virus while another farmer, Josephine Igwe, lost 12 pigs.

Following the outbreak of the virus, the Ebonyi farmers association placed an embargo on the sale of pigs in the state. The association also banned the visitation of piggery farms by people to prevent the further spread of the virus.

Chairman of the association, Chief Mike Udenwe stated this in a statement to journalists in Abakaliki, on the outbreak of the disease.

He called on Governor Dave Umahi, the state ministry of agriculture, federal ministry of agriculture, and Food and Agricultural Organisation to immediately come to the farmers’ aid to halt the further spread of the disease.

He warned the public against the consumption of pigs killed by the virus and urged farmers to immediately bury pigs that were killed by the African swine fever.

“It is important to note that the population of domestic pigs in Ebonyi state is estimated at 50,000 with an estimated value of N8bn. It is also estimated that the direct and indirect employment of skilled and unskilled workforce in Ebonyi state pig value-chain is about five thousand workers, and the consumption of pork contributes about 30% protein to the food security formulae of the state.

“We have lost 311 pigs valued at about N10.5million. The African swine fever has no cure. It has no vaccination or any drug for now but my advice to farmers is to maintain security. When we started, we did invite our friends to come and see how our pigs looked like. It was like a zoo where every Dick and Harry went to see pigs. Traders and the veterinary doctors equally are the carriers of African swine fever.

“We have broadcast to stop the sale of pigs for now so that pig farmers will not come to buy pigs from your farms because they carry the same vehicle, the same shoe, the same cloth, the same material they use to go to an affected farm to other farms. So, for now, no piggery farm visitation and if you are having a problem on your farm, try to curtail it

“The Pig Farmers Association of Nigeria, Ebonyi state chapter, therefore wishes to use this medium to appeal to both registered and unregistered pig farmers in the state to meticulously observe the required bio-security protocol in their farms to avoid further spread of this deadly disease. We advise the general public to note that pig farmers are not tourist centres. So, pig farmers and everyone involved in piggery should be thoroughly screened before being allowed into any farm henceforth,” Udenwe said.

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