Pig, pork product imports remain suspended as swine fever continues to spread

Myanmar continues to restrict imports of pigs and pork products following an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in neighbouring China and other countries, according to the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation.

The department has temporarily suspended transport and trading of live pigs and pork products from China via the border, airports and ports since March. Last week, the Department of Civil Aviation also declared a ban on carrying and trading frozen pork, ham, sausages and other pork products at the Yangon International Airport.

In its statement, the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department advised local pig farmers and traders to clean and disinfect their farms and markets regularly and not to keep wild boards and domesticated pigs within the same compound.

It also advised locals to make a report at the nearest general administration office or at the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department of any sudden deaths of wild boars or domesticated pigs.

ASF is transmitted among pigs by direct contact with infected animals, their carcasses and bodily fluids or by consuming contaminated meat.

Although scientists say that there are no health risks to humans, the disease can spread quickly among pigs and the financial impact to pig farmers and pork producers can be substantial. This is because once the virus has been detected on a pig farm, the entire population must be culled, experts say.

There is currently no vaccine or treatment for ASF.

The virus first started spreading in China since August last year and has already reached more than 20 provinces, including Yunnan province, which shares a border with Myanmar. In January, China had already culled 916,000 pigs after around 100 outbreaks of ASF in the country, according to government reports.

Around half the world’s pigs can be found in China, valuing the industry at around US$128 billion, according to Bloomberg last year.

Despite the disease, pork prices in Myanmar remain stable, said U Maung Maung Lay, vice chair of Myanmar Pig Breeders and Producers Association.

“So far, pork sales have been normal. As we do not import frozen pork, there has been no impact,” he said. The retail price of pork is now around K10,000 per viss.

Source: Myanmar Times

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