African swine fever outbreak sparks concerns over export disruption in Indonesia

The outbreak of African swine fever in Indonesia has triggered concerns in the country over disruption of exports to neighbouring countries.

Indonesian Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo said on Wednesday that the infections were expected to cause a temporary interruption to the exports of both live pigs and freshly slaughtered pork.

Currently, the number of pigs infected by the disease was not too high, but it has affected our exports quite a lot.

This was because most of live pigs and pork produced in Indonesia go for exports, Limpo told reporters at his office in Jakarta.

The disease is harmless to humans but highly contagious and fatal for pigs as there is no known cure.

Limpo revealed that the outbreak had been reported in Luwu Timur regency and Gowa regency in South Sulawesi province, and in Riau Islands province.

Data from the department of agriculture and food security of Luwu Timur Regency showed that from May 12 to 15.

It showed that more than 17,100 pigs, or nearly half of the total 38,556 pigs in the region, died from the disease, and the number is expected to increase.

Singapore, which is the largest market of pig exports of Indonesia’s Pulau Bulan regency.

This has halted imports of live pigs from the region since April 23, after the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) detected the disease in a consignment of pigs.

As a consequence, Indonesia’s value of pig exports to Singapore in April slumped to only 2.85 million dollars.

I Ketut Hari Suyasa, chairman of the Bali pig farmers association, said that the price of live pigs from breeders had fallen to 48,000 rupiahs per kilogram.

It said previously 60,000 rupiahs per kilogram since the outbreak in Sulawesi island.

The death toll of pigs infected with the disease is quite high.

If one pig is infected, pigs in the same pen will most likely die.

As an impact, pig sellers did panic selling, Suyasa said.

Taking preventive measures, Limpo said his ministry had instructed tight isolation in the affected areas and intensified vaccine intervention to pigs across the country.

As the disease can spread during export trips, the ministry would also trace the flow of distributions at export points, or from any properties that could have had direct or indirect contact with affected farms, he said.

To anticipate worsening spread, the Ministry of Health urged all breeders to wear personal protective equipment when handling the livestock and routinely cleaning cages and stalls with disinfectant.

“Breeders must destroy their livestock if they are found sick or die suddenly,’’ said Siti Nadia Tarmizi.

Tarmizi is in charge of the prevention and control of zoonotic diseases at the ministry.

“We recommend that people not buy sick animals for cooking, even though the price is usually cheaper,’’ she said. (Xinhua/NAN)