African Swine Fever in Sarawak under control, says State Agriculture Minister

Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom (file pic)
25/05/2022 05:04 PM

KUCHING, May 25 (Bernama) -- The highly virulent and contagious African Swine Fever (ASF) that had affected nine divisions in Sarawak since the first index case was reported in Buduk Bui, Limbang on July 14 last year, is now under control.

Three remaining divisions namely Kuching, Serian and Samarahan are still free of the disease, thanks to the ASF-free compartmentalisation directed towards rapid containment of ASF in the state which was initiated since November 2020.

Sarawak Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture and Regional Development Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom told the State Assembly here today that the first index case in Sarawak was due to the poor biosecurity and hygiene of the pig farms and the farmers themselves.

“Our pig farms got infected due to close contact and spread by humans, fomites and contamination of feeds and drinking water,” he said when winding up for his ministry for the debate on the motion of thanks for the Sarawak Yang Dipertua Negeri’s opening address.

He said the Department of Veterinary Services has taken all the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of ASF to Kuching, Serian and Samarahan Divisions where 75 per cent of the commercial pork production in Sarawak is located.

Dr Rundi said actions that had been taken include banning imports from ASF infected countries, surveillance, awareness programmes, improvement of biosecurity measures, pig movement control and implementing the “stamping out or culling” followed by decontamination.

The total number of pigs culled in Miri, Bintulu, Sibu, Sarikei, Kapit, Mukah, Betong and Sri Aman divisions were 15,028 heads, comprising 4,978 backyard reared pigs and 10,050 commercially reared pigs, he said.

Dr Rundi said the State government is looking for appropriate ways and assistance to assist farmers that are affected by ASF.

Speaking to reporters later, he said the best way to prevent ASF from occurring was to modernise pig farming, which in turn, would enable Sarawak to become major exporter of pork products.