As part of efforts to control and prevent further spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF) in Nigeria, the Food and Agriculture of the United Nations (FAO) is empowering epidemiological officers with competencies for management and containment of the disease.
Operators (farmers, traders and transporters) in the pig value chain are also trained on biosecurity measures.
Organised by FAO in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) through the USAID funded ‘Strengthening Global Coordination of Animal Health Emergencies of International Concerns’ project, the trainings and field studies are being conducted in two batches at the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Jos, Plateau State.
Through the trainings, field study visits and hands-on practical sessions, the epidemiological officers and operators in the pig value chain from 20 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are empowered on how to manage the epizooticthat was reported in Nigeria in February this year.
Safeguarding livelihoods of Pig Value chain operators
It will be recalled that there was a reported outbreak of ASF in February 2020 in Aro Oke one of the largest pig settlements in Africa situated on the borders of Lagos and Ogun states.
According to official reports from the Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services (FDVPCS) about 70 000 pigs died within three months following the outbreak. In monetary terms, it was estimated that the owners lost more than N20 billion.
Many Operators became apprehensive, as the disease continued to spread to other states in the country, threatening livelihoods supported in the value chain.
“Unlike other Transboundary Animal Diseases (TAD), ASF has no known vaccine or cure, its continued spread in Nigeria has socio-economic and food security consequences if uncontrolled”, said the FAO Representative in Nigeria and to ECOWAS Fred Kafeero, “value chain operators, especially the most vulnerable actors must therefore embrace good biosecurity measures”.
“Similarly, the capacities of epidemiological officers from at – risk – states because of their large pig population, need to be enhanced to ensure the disease is contained and effectively managed to prevent the continued loss of livelihoods”, Kafeero said.
Most effective control and preventive measures.
Speaking at the opening of the training, the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) of the Federation Dr. Olaniran Alabi said measures were taken by the government through the FDVPCS to mitigate the spread, but poor perception of the disease, low awareness and compliance to biosecurity measures by operators in the value chain has continued to prevent the spread.
“The most effective measure for its prevention and control remains proper and strict adherence to hygienic practices, commonly known as biosecurity measures along the pig production, transportation, marketing and processing value chain”, Alabi emphasized.
By the end of the capacity building exercise, the value chain operators will have attained skills and knowledge on Good emergency Practices, good agricultural practices, proper biosecurity practices, collaboration with other value chain operators, participatory disease reporting, risk communication, cost benefits of proper implementation of biosecurity measures, alternative compensation scheme and ownership of implementation of biosecurity measures.
Apart from the Experts from FMARD, other participants are drawn from states most affected and at risk, including Pig farmers/Breeders; Pig marketers; Butchers (in abattoir)/Pork Processors; Pig Transporters; Feed Millers; Private Veterinarians/Animal Health workers; State officials and Federal and state epidemiology officers.
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