Understanding the risks associated with the possible incursion of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Fiji is critical in mitigating the impact that the disease will have on the swine industry, should it reach our shores.

This was the objective of an Awareness and Emergency Preparedness training which was conducted for the Ministry of Agriculture and Biosecurity officers who serve within the Central Division, to better prepare them to tackle ASF if it reaches Fiji.

This is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Agriculture, in partnership with the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji and the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (“PHAMA Plus”) in a bid to equip officers from these institutions to handle ASF.

Biosecurity Authority of Fiji Acting Chief Executive Officer, Surend Pratap encouraged the training participants to improve their knowledge on ASF during the 4-day training.

“African Swine Fever is a devastating disease in the global swine industry where it can wipe out the whole swine industry,” he said.

“This Transboundary Animal Disease (“TAD”) can be spread by live or dead pigs, domestic or wild, and pork products,” said Mr Pratap.

“ASF is rapidly spreading around the world and it is now a threat to Pacific Island countries after being introduced to Papua New Guinea last year.”

He said the training would better deliver animal health and biosecurity-related services needed in preparedness against, and the prevention of, an incursion of African Swine Fever in Fiji.

“It is in the Pacific region now and we are vigilant on ASF not coming to Fiji, and you are the relevant officers who will see that it is contained, managed, eradicated, and regulated in the event of such an emergency,” he said.

Principal Veterinary Officer of the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Anand Deo said that to enhance pig production in Fiji, there was continuous awareness from agriculture officers to commercial, semi-commercial, and subsistence pig farmers.

The training includes Pathway risk analysis and capacity to respond, physical and human resources, and advocacy and awareness of African Swine Fever.

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