African Swine Fever monitoring ongoing: Ministry
Local authorities continue to do inspections as well as monitoring to ensure imported pork products do not bring the African Swine Fever (A.S.F.) into Samoa.
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F.) officials Marie Malaki and Tulia Molimau-Iosefa in a statement issued to the Samoa Observer said the Ministry’s Quarantine Division, which oversees enforcement and monitoring, continues its inspection of all incoming airfreight and vessel cargo for canned and meat pork products that are intercepted at the border.
"Any new request to import pork products from African Swine Fever-free countries or any country, Quarantine Division will conduct the import risk assessment before it is approved,” the two officials said.
“All prohibited pork products will be seized and destroyed immediately.
“We are also kept updated by our Animal Production and Health Division disease notification via the World Animal Health Organisation for technical information, its wide transmission, preventative measures and other crucial information.”
The M.A.F. is also doing awareness using multiple mediums, according to the two officials.
"Awareness materials are relayed through a variety of mediums (TV, radio programs, Facebook) to provide Awareness.
“Although A.S.F. is not present in Samoa, our Quarantine Division and Animal Production and Health Division are undergoing training to understand A.S.F. more as well as training in using field test kits for quick field analysis for a suspected case.”
They also revealed that a baseline survey of piggery farms has already begun in Savai’i starting in December last year. The training and the awareness programmes by the Ministry will be rolled out in 2022 in partnership with various stakeholders including border agencies.
The impact of the A.S.F. threat on the local piggery market in Samoa was also highlighted.
"Although it does not impact human health, it will completely eradicate pig populations,” said the statement issued by two officials.
“Pigs that our families and people rely on for livelihood as well as feral and wild pigs will all be impacted.
"[African Swine Fever] currently does not have a cure or a vaccine and is costing other countries millions to billions of dollars.
"It will be difficult to control and eradicate because we have a free-range system (pigs roaming) as the main point of transmission of [African Swine Fever] is pigs coming in contact with infected pigs and other materials like gumboots, shovels and wheelbarrows that are used with infected animals.”
But if a case of ASF is detected in Samoa, the officials said all the affected piggery will be slaughtered following confirmation of infection.
“It is recommended that all affected piggery will be slaughtered once infected with ASF to protect others that are not yet infected.”
Due to the threat, the Ministry further added that any pork cuttings, meat, and live pigs for reproduction purposes from affected countries are prohibited from Samoa.