A farm cluster operated by beneficiaries of the Delta State agricultural empowerment scheme tagged Youth Agriculture and Entrepreneurship Programme (YAGEP) has been shut down as a result of suspected outbreak of Africa Swine Fever (ASF), a disease of pigs, at the farm.
The farm cluster is located at Owa-Alero in Ika North East Local Government Area of the state. Coordinator of YAGEP in the state, Mr. Sam Ndikanwu who confirmed this to our correspondent on phone, said the intention was to investigate the outbreak of the disease, and refused to speak further.
The ASF virus causes African Swine Fever, a contagious viral disease impacting only pigs. As at the filing this report, Commissioner for Agriculture in the state, Julius Egbedi was yet to answer calls to his cell phone, but he reportedly visited the farm on Thursday.
Egbedi reportedly said the permanent method to eliminate the dreaded African Swine Fever was to quarantine the farm for at least three months and destroy the pigs in there.
He was said to have decried the level of indiscipline exhibited by farmers in the cluster, and charged them to always pay close attention to and comply with prescribed guidelines for animal husbandry.
According to him, farmers have to adhere to laid down bio-security and other measures in the rearing of livestock to prevent the eruption of avoidable diseases.
“To forestall outbreak of an epidemic, the farm would be shut down and quarantined for a minimum of three months and every pig in the farm would be destroyed,” he said.
Egbedi, who also sympathised with the farmers over their losses, assured them of state government assistance to mitigate the losses incurred after an investigation to ascertain the extent of the loss.
Meanwhile, a statement by the state Director of Information, Dona Obuseh, said the primary source of the infection was traced to the importation of infested pigs into the state. Obuseh stated that the disease was imported by butchers from some states that have the outbreak of the disease.
Consequently, the statement advised pig farmers and butchers in the state to step up bio-security in their respective farms and halt inter-farm movement of pigs, humans, materials as well as importation of pigs.