Council demands govt pay for pigs killed over ASF fears
The National Farmers Council is calling on the government to immediately compensate farmers who were forced to cull their pigs to contain the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF).
Council chairman Prapat Panyachatiraksa said that apart from compensating the farmers, the government should also grant soft loans for improving facilities in line with international standards, implement zoning, register swine brokers, find out how laws affect the development of pig farming, set up a pig-farming fund and apply the Bio-Circular-Green Model to the livestock industry.
"The council has also outlined measures that can be employed for three years, including making the Department of Livestock Development more efficient in investigating diseases, promoting precision agriculture and supporting research and development of vaccines and biotechnology,” he said.
“As a long-term measure, the government should make keeping Thailand free from animal diseases part of the national agenda as well as support the private sector and farmer groups in setting up veterinary vaccine production facilities.”
The National Farmers Council is ready to cooperate with related agencies to tackle the ASF crisis, Prapat added.
Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Prapat Pothasuthon said the livestock department will compensate ASF-affected farmers with a 574 million baht budget approved by the Cabinet on January 11.
He said the ministry will focus on farm management to raise pig production levels, especially disease prevention and transportation.
"These measures will help boost pig production for the market," he said.
He said up to 19 million pigs are available for market, 18 million for domestic consumption and 1 million for export.
He added that the Commerce Ministry may import pigs as a short-term solution.
The livestock department is also preparing measures to boost the number of sows to produce more piglets to meet demand, he said.
Meanwhile, department chief Sorawit Thaneeto said it will survey farms and facilities nationwide to evaluate the risk of ASF spreading.
Affected farmers would be compensated for any pigs culled, he added.
Sorawit said the department has launched six urgent measures to restore pork production:
1. Registering 189,152 pig farmers, including 185,025 smallholders, 3,856 medium-scale and 291 large-scale farmers.
2. Restoring pig production for small farmers in line with standards.
3. Cooperating with agencies on increasing the number of new pigs.
4. Asking medium and large-scale pig farmers to distribute pigs for smallholders.
5. Offering farmers financial support from the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives and farmers aid funds.
6. Deploying volunteers to support officials.