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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, June 25: Sarawak targets RM50 million in pork exports to Singapore this year compared to RM45 million achieved last year.
Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) Sarawak director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud said currently Sarawak has some 500,000 standing pig population (SPP).
Thus, he said, Sarawak will continue to be cautious to guard its pig industry against the dreaded African swine fever (ASF) by implementing all necessary precautions to ensure that the industry will not be affected,
“As precaution, we have banned the importation of pork products from infected countries,” Dr Susin told DayakDaily here today.
When asked about the situation in Kalimantan, he responded that the neighbouring Indonesian region is free from ASF.
He was commenting on Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Deputy Minister Sim Tze Tzin’s appeal to pig farmers to report to the authorities if they suspected that their pigs are affected by ASF.
“They must not slaughter the sick pig and sell it; they must immediately report it to the Department of Veterinary Services,” he said in a press conference after visiting, KB Wong and Brothers Farm, one of Penang’s largest pig farms yesterday.
Sim had warned that just one or two ASF cases can cripple the whole RM5 billion pig farming and related products industry in the country.
He said pig farmers may want to cover it up to protect themselves, but warned this will come with serious repercussions.
“We will take very serious action on this, so let me warn all farmers to never do this and to think of the country and the industry,” he said.
He reminded farmers of the Nipah virus outbreak that hit the country 20 years ago, which resulted in 265 cases of acute encephalitis with 105 human deaths. The outbreak then had crippled the pig farming industry.
He said the DVS already has a contingency plan in case of an outbreak here.
“So we will put it into motion to control the spread of the virus if farmers immediately report to us any suspected cases,” he said.
He said a table-top simulation on ASF was held in February to prepare the relevant government departments and agencies for the contingency plan.
He said Thailand was now the last “buffer” from affected countries, so Malaysia has to be extra vigilant.
“We want to make sure ASF doesn’t spread to Malaysia because it spread like wildfire in six major Asian countries in less than a year,” he said.
As at June 20, ASF has spread to China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea and Laos.
Malaysia has over 600 farms, with about 1.5 million pigs.
Sim said Malaysia is self-sustaining as local pig supplies make up 93 per cent of the pork in the market.
Due to ASF, the country now bans the import of pork and pig products from China, Poland, Belgium, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.
The DVS has conducted clinical surveillance in pig farms in eight states and found no signs of ASF as of now.
Sim said the Department of Wildlife and National Parks have also sampled 46 wild boars in seven states in the peninsula and all tested negative for ASF. — DayakDaily