African Swine Fever Outbreak Still Haunting Mzimba and Nkhata Bay
The government says it is not ready to lift the travel and slaughtering ban of pigs in Nkhatabay and Mzimba following an outbreak of African swine fever that has so far claimed more than 600 pigs forcing some farmers and vendors trafficking the livestock to potential markets like in Mzuzu.
Ministry of Agriculture Spokesperson, Gracian Lungu has told Zodiak that government officials are on the ground monitoring the situation before making any decision.
``Government is still assessing the situation in these two districts, such that livestock farmers should have patience,” urged Lungu.
African swine fever started attacking pigs in Nkhatabay and Mzimba in August last year and reports from the Ministry of Agriculture indicate that more than 600 pigs have so far died.
Spot checks have revealed that some farmers and vendors are trafficking the animals to some markets in Mzuzu, risking consumers to diseases if consume affected pork.
Agriculture expert from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources LUANAR, Dr. Horace Phiri said despite being difficult to police trafficking of animals from one place to another, farmers themselves should be responsible end the outbreak.
Warned Dr. Phiri: If this trend of trafficking the livestock continues the outbreak of African swine fever will not end in these two districts
These two districts are the main suppliers of pork to Mzuzu and following shortages of the delicacy to some people, prices for pork have been pushed upwards from K2000 per kilogram to K2500 in a space of three months.
Meanwhile, another livestock disease called foot and mouth has affected 70 cattle, attacking 17,000 cattle with 88 confirmed cases, the government has confirmed.