PETALING JAYA: There’s no local outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) but pig farmers have been advised to adopt strict biosecurity measures and agricultural practices to prevent any spread of the disease, says Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Sim Tze Tzin.
He said the government has taken various preventive measures and local farmers must do their part to prevent infections at their farms.
“Farmers are the last defence,” he said yesterday, adding if they don’t take preventive measures there could be an outbreak.
According to a report in The Guardian, ASF continues to spread around the region despite the culling of millions of pigs in China and Vietnam.
It said Thailand was now on “red alert”, and experts also feared outbreaks in Myanmar, the Philippines and Laos.
Sim said Thailand served as a buffer zone for Malaysia and he did not see the disease reaching Malaysia.
“At this point, we don’t import a lot of pork products. We only import canned meat,” he said.
He said the import of piglets from Vietnam had been banned following the outbreak there and warned that the government would take stern action against smugglers who bring in pork products from affected countries.
“Once the country is affected we have to spend a lot of money to cull the pigs, veterinarians will be deployed to solve the problem and (there will be) compensation to a lot of people.
“Now is the time to safeguard and protect our borders,” he said.
He said an ASF outbreak would not only affect pork prices but also the livelihood of local farmers.
Sim advised Malaysians not to visit pig farms, as the virus can stay on clothes for seven days, or bring back any pork products from affected countries.
Federation of Livestock Farmers’ Associations of Malaysia president Datuk Jeffrey Ng Choon Ngee said farmers were taking measures to prevent outbreaks.
“The virus does not affect humans but infected animals die very quickly,” he said.
Ng assured Malaysians local pork products are safe.