African Swine Fever Discussed on World ForumBy Sofía Hanna | Wed, 10/28/2020 - 16:59
African swine fever is becoming a more significant problem in several countries, affecting livelihood and food safety. Due to this, FAO and the UN gathered governments representing countries' food sectors and specialists to present for the first time in the World Forum an initiative to solve this issue.
According to both organizations, African swine fever is moving at a very high pace and to more countries with each year that goes by. The problem shows no signs of deceleration and it has already provoked the loss of over 7 million pigs in Asia. Meanwhile, more countries in Africa and Europe are reporting an increase in cases.
"Nowadays, our objective is to avoid the propagation of this illness and in the last instance eradicate it using scientific data, best practices and the most recent international norms,” said in a video message General Director of FAO, QU Dongyu. "If it is not controlled, this illness will put at risk the advances we have made toward our sustainable development goals."
Pig farming is critical to various economic sectors. It represents the livelihood of a large number of people and is part of each country's food safety strategy. If the sickness continues to spread, it will add up to existing economic problems and new ones brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the UN. The problem, at the moment, is that there is no vaccine yet to treat this. The way to control and eradicate it from an already infected group is complicated and laborious, says FAO.
Countries cannot solve this problem on their own, according to the UN. However, there are actions that could help to controlling and hopefully eradicating this at some point, such as stabilizing the prices in the pork sector and, as much as possible, in other meat sectors to contribute to food safety; performing risk analysis at a national level, implementing contingency plans and prevention policies in high-risk nations and supporting laboratory diagnostics and detection.
"Nowadays, no country is safe from African swine fever," said Monique Eloit, General Director of the OIE, during the World forum. Multiple investments will be needed to reach an effective application of international norms.