Assistance ‘too little’ to even cover losses, Chong urges govt to increase funding for pig farmers affected by ASF

Chong Chieng Jen

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KUCHING, Aug 19: The assistance fund of RM497,000 paid to pig farmers affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF) disease in 2021 is “far too little and too slow” to even cover their losses, says Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen.

Chong pointed out that assuming the average cost of RM800 per pig culled, that is a total loss of RM25 million to the pig farmers.

He was referring to the total of 32,204 pigs disposed of in Sarawak as of Aug 16 this year which was reported by Minister of Agriculture Modernisation and Regional Development Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom recently.

“Yet the State government only allocated a sum of RM497,000 to assist them, not even two per cent of their total loss.

“I urge the State government to be more proactive when it comes to assisting the pig farmers affected by ASF and not give mere token assistance,” he said in a statement today.

The Padungan assemblyman emphasised that the Sarawak government should step up efforts by not only increasing the funding but expedite the payment to assist the affected pig farmers.

According to Dr Rundi in a statement on Aug 17, various measures have been implemented and coordinated across various agencies including commercial farm breeders and breeders’ associations to stamp out and curb the spread of ASF since the outbreak in July 21 last year.

The measures included putting a ban on imported pork products from ASF infected areas, enforced livestock movement control, introduced test and slaughter procedures, while the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) Sarawak is actively monitoring the situation and carrying out awareness campaigns especially in rural areas at the same time.

Up until May 2022, Dr Rundi reported that a total of 210kg of pork-based products have been confiscated upon arrival at airports in Sarawak, while two consignments of imported pork products such as stew pork in cans have been rejected as of August 2022 after they were found to be contaminated with ASF.

In addition, four compounds were issued for offences involving the slaughtering of pigs in unlicensed slaughterhouses.

Dr Rundi also gave assurance that the pork available in the market is sufficient and safe for consumption. — DayakDaily