“Swine farmers have been struggling for the past few years due to the rising cost of animal feed which is mainly made from corn – the government-guaranteed price of which is far higher than the global price,” he said. “When Covid-19 hit Thailand, the demand for pork plummeted following lockdowns, causing many small farmers to abandon swine farming and eventually resulted in pig shortage.
“Furthermore, the African Swine Fever [ASF] has been found in several pig farms for quite a while. This is a serious disease with no vaccine and can wipe out a swine farm’s entire livestock over a short period,” he said.
“The only way of preventing the disease from spreading is to kill all animals in the farm, which then worsens the shortage. Therefore, it will take a long time before the supply of pigs can bounce back to normal.
“It is time for the government and Department of Livestock Development to admit that there is indeed an ongoing ASF outbreak, so we can solve the problem systematically,” he said. “The authorities can no longer pretend that the problem only exists in a few areas and try to limit the spread on an area-by-area basis,” Somphon said.
“ASF is now a widespread problem and is severely affecting the country’s pig supply. The government must be transparent about the outbreak and issue immediate measures to tackle the problem to mitigate the impact on the economy, instead of just fixing it superficially for political motives,” he added.
On Wednesday, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on said he has ordered the Department of Livestock Development to immediately investigate risky areas after a sample collected from a slaughterhouse in Nakhon Pathom was found to have traces of ASF earlier this week.
Chalermchai also insisted that the government did not cover up the discovery of ASF in Thailand and that it has notified the World Organisation for Animal Health of the local ASF instances.
Animal diseases or death from unknown reasons can be reported to the Department of Livestock Development via (063) 225 6888 or via the DLD 4.0 mobile application. Officials will investigate each case in person.
Published : January 14, 2022
By : THE NATION