Mzimba, Nkhata Bay pigs under swine fever attack
By Patience Lunda:
The Ministry of Agriculture has disclosed that 68,000 pigs are at risk of contracting African Swine Fever (ASF), after some livestock tested positive for the disease in Mzimba and Nkhata Bay districts.
So far, 155 pigs in 13 kraals have contracted the disease in the two districts, according to agriculture officials.
Chief Animal Health and Livestock Development Officer Gilson Njunga told The Daily Times that cases have been confirmed in four extension planning areas (EPAs) of Zombwe, Emsizini, Kavuzi and Chikwina.
Njunga said measures to control the disease have been instituted in the affected areas.
“In conformity with the Disease and Control of Animals Act and World Animal Health Organisation guidelines, measures have been taken and these include suspension of pig sales and slaughter and restriction of pig movements,” he said.
On his part, agriculture policy expert Leonard Chimwaza said the country is not doing well on good parasite and disease prevention measures, hence the recurrence of the disease.
He added that there is a need to employ more animal health surveillance assistants so that farmers are reached with best animal health messages.
“It is high time that our livestock farmers started observing recommended hygienic practices at farm level because the impact can be negative on farmers and the community as a whole,” Chimwaza said.
In October last year, cases of the disease were recorded in Mzimba South, where it affected two EPAs of Khosolo and Vangalal, killing at least 123 pigs in 35 kraals.
ASF affects pigs and there is no effective vaccine against the disease.