The National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority has announced a new disease affecting pigs in the country.
Agriculture Minister John Simon yesterday confirmed that the African Swine Fever is now in the country.
The African Swine Fever is a virus that causes fever on Pigs, causing them to die in large numbers.
Following reports of pigs dying in large numbers in the Southern Highlands province, an investigation was carried out by NAQIA.
The results proved the African Swine Fever is in Southern Highlands Province, and it has caused the deaths of over 300 pigs in the last four months.
“NAQIA has discovered in Kagua Erave District of Southern Highlands Province, and we have lost about 336 pigs.
“We already got African Swine Disease in the country. Its Confirmed.” The Minister said.
Since its discovery last year, NAQIA together with support from various partners have set up checks in various entry points.
However they are not sure of how the disease appeared in the highlands region.
But they are still investigating how the virus entered the highlands region.
Agriculture Minister John Simon said, though the virus don’t affect human, it is a huge threat on domestic pigs, and the whole pork industry.
In an effort to stop the virus from spreading to other provinces, NAQIA has declared three provinces as Disease Areas.
The provinces include Southern Highlands, Enga and Hela Provinces.
This declaration is a containment measure, to ensure the disease is contained in the most affected areas.
According to NAQIA managing director Joel Alu, there are teams the ground, working to contain the spread of the virus.
“If we are able to establish the extent of the spread, we can be able to pin down that particular area, so that the other areas are not affected.”
Apart from Swine Fever, there are also other diseases that are affecting plants and animals in the country.
Minister Simon said, there is a disease causing dogs to die in East Sepik Province, and a worm, affecting corn and rice plants in Western Province.
He said the department is doing their best to ensure the livestock and agriculture sector, do not pose a biological threat in this time of global pandemic.
By Rayon Lakingu, EMTV News, Port Moresby