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07 July 2017

Taskforce to fight swine fever in the offing at four districts in Ashanti Region

Health Officials of the Ahafo Ano North District of the Ashanti Region are taking steps to contain the outbreak of swine fever in the area with a special task force.

The Ahafo Ano is the latest of four districts in the Ashanti Region to record the disease, resulting in the death of at least 300 pigs by the end of last month.

Atwima Kwahoma, Atwima Nwabiagya, Bosomtwe are the other districts hit by the swine fever.

John Kumi, a farmer, is the latest to be hit by the swine fever for which reason he has destroyed every pig on his farm.

He has been rearing pigs for a year and a half now and until the outbreak had 48 pigs as at ending of June.

“It is worrisome and it has really affected us so much, we have to take it like that because sometimes you start a business with two things, you can either lose or make a profit but in this case, we lost”, he laments.

Mr Kumi lost the almost 20,000 Ghana Cedis investment made into the farm.

“We started with 18, last year almost 38 then recently 2 gave birth, 48 in number and they all died in the incidents.

“We didn’t make any sales because we wanted it in bulk before we can sell. They had started giving birth and soon we could have started selling but we couldn’t sell even one”, he said. 

Last year, Ashanti Region recorded infection of nearly 6, 000 pigs in a similar outbreak.

The African swine fever disease, according to officials, has neither vaccines for prevention nor drugs for treatment.

The only option for veterinary officials in the region is to kill infected pigs on affected farms to prevent a spread.

District Director of National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Emmanuel Baffour Awuah, says a task force is in the offing.

According to him, it will be made up of district NADMO, education director, and veterinary officer, headed by the district planning officer.

 “So that we will move and identify all pig farmers and invite the farmers so that the veterinary department will educate them on the causes, effects and how to prevent the African swine fever from spreading”.

Meanwhile, Ashanti Regional Veterinary Officer, Dr. Emmanuel Edward Effah, implores farmers to observe proper bio-security measures.

“It’s better for you to depopulate and do proper disinfection that is bio-security; it is the only way to prevent your animal from getting the disease.

“You must follow sanitation, and hygiene, that is the bio-security, you disinfect the area every two weeks three to four times then you can restock,” he advised.

The affected farmer, Mr. Kumi , has appealed for support from government and other benevolent individuals so they can get back on their feet.

Pig farming employs hundreds of people along its value chain.

If the situation persists, these businesses will suffer at the expense of those whose livelihoods depend on them.

 

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