Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Farmers operating piggery in Ijebu North East Local Government Area of Ogun state, have cried out over the breakout of the African Swine Fever (ASF) which has claimed about twenty thousand pigs, worth several millions of naira.
The farmers, under the aegis of Ijebu North East Pig Farmers Association, who spoke to Daily Sun, on Wednesday, on the influx of swine fevers to their farms, lamented that since the epidemic started, the farmers have lost their means of livelihood.
Speaking on behalf of farmers association, its president, Samuel Ogunsanwo, said not less than twenty farmers have incurred huge debt with some of them hospitalised as a result of the loss.
He claimed that the affected farms which were full of activities three weeks ago, had been wiped out by the ASF following the outbreak of the viral disease.
“We have been hit by the devastating disease. Swine fever has swept through Atan, the headquarters of Ijebu North East LG, one of the largest local governments with piggery farmers
“Some of us have been left devastated, we have lost about several millions of natural to Africa Swine Fever, between June and July. The virus is highly deadly and as there is no cure for it now, there is nothing we can do to curtail it. This is the first time we are witnessing it in our area, it has been in Ijebu North, In Lagos State and some other adjourning locations to our area’. Ogunsanwo stated.
He described the ASF as a major threat to the pig industry in Nigeria and Africa at large, bemoaning the heavy losses incurred by pig farmers whenever it strikes.
Also speaking with the Daily Sun, another affected farmer, Mustapha Oluwaseun Temitope, likened the swine fever to the COVID-19, which has become pandemic.
“There’s nothing you can do about it. Just don’t allow any animal that has the disease come near your animals or else they will have it and when they have it, the virus will attack organs and when their organs collapse, the pig die.
“What we do is that once it happens, we isolate the affected ones and when they die we bury them in the pit provided for that purpose. We don’t allow humans to eat them. We have more than 11 pits we have dug where we dispose of the dead animals to avoid any environmental or health hazard’. He said.
The pig farmers, however, appealed to the state government to come to their aid in order to mitigate their financial losses.
Reacting to the development, Ogun State Commissioner for Agriculture, Samson Odedina, said though ASF is not transmittable to man, but can cause incalculable economic losses to pig farmers because of the scale of devastation.
Odedina, who disclosed that the viral disease currently causing havoc in Europe, China and America has no cure, said the outbreak had been reported to the Federal Government through the National Animal Disease Information System (NADIS).
He, however, added that Veterinary Officers in the various zones of the state have been visiting affected farms, while his ministry has stepped up advocacy to enlighten farmers on steps to take to prevent further spread of the disease.
The Commissioner equally disclosed that the Federal Government has given Ogun 400 liters of CID 20, a strong disinfectants to complement the ones in stock, to control the disease.