SEPANG: Pig farmers have been given two months to adhere to and fully implement biosecurity measures in their farms, says Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Sim Tze Tzin (pic).
This includes wearing a special uniform when entering a farm, practising foot dipping and spraying transport vehicles with disinfectant to prevent the African swine fever (ASF).
Meanwhile, with the ASF outbreak now reported in Asia - in China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea and Laos - besides Belgium and Poland in Europe, the public was told to avoid buying frozen suckling pigs and ordering pork products online.
Sim said these were to prevent pigs from being infected and destroying farms and the industry.
"Biosecurity in farms is the most important thing for farmers to prevent the ASF.
"The government will start enforcing it in two months. If the farmers carry out the necessary measures, they are unlikely to get ASF. It's in their best interest," he said at a press conference after a dialogue with pig farmers on the prevention and spreading of African Swine Fever on Wednesday (July 17).
Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) director-general Datuk Dr Quaza Nizamuddin said the authorities would like to encourage the industry to first adopt the biosecurity measures rather than going on the punitive route.
However, he said that farmers could have their licences revoked as a worst-case measure if they do not implement biosecurity measures.
Sim also urged farmers to stop swill feeding (feeding pigs with their food waste), as food sources might be contaminated.
He said the public should also avoid eating suckling pigs as most were imported and might come from ASF countries.
"We would like to advise them not to eat suckling pig for now, especially in two months' time during the wedding season (after the Hungry Ghost Festival month)," he said.
He also urged people to avoid buying pork products online as the source might come from infected countries.
Sim urged all parties to take the necessary measures because ASF was a clear and present danger for the industry.
"Although the ASF does not harm humans, the farmers will suffer losses if ASF enters the country. The whole industry will suffer," he said, adding that it took Spain 20 years to eliminate the virus.
He assured that sick pigs will be destroyed and would not go into the market.
Sim said that the government is beefing up border checks and has stopped import of pork products.
Asked if the government would provide compensation for farmers to report cases of ASF, which they normally would not, Sim said the ministry would propose to the government to provide a token sum.
"This will encourage farmers to report such cases to the government as soon as possible," he said.