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All news / Increased efforts to combat ASF in Russia and Ukraine

  • 28 Jun 2017, 09:48

Independently from each other, both Russia and Ukraine are looking into ways of how to intensify the battle against the ongoing outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF).

Sergey Dankvert, head of the Russia’s veterinary watchdog Rosselhoznadzor, recently stated that Russia’s government should reconstruct the system of veterinary control in the country – and a proposal is currently being considered by the federal government.

Speaking to Russia’s news agency Tass, Mr Dankvert suggested that the African Swine Fever situation in Russia has been worsening, as a lot of power to combat diseases was transferred from federal levels to regional levels, in a process of administrative reforms. Mr Dankvert suggested restoring the authority at Rosselkhoznadzor, in order to better combat the virus.

Impact of ASF on Russia

In Russia’s parliament, Mr Dankvert shared a Rosselhoznadzor assessment on the impact of African Swine Fever has had on the country’s pigs industry so far. Since 2007 the overall losses from ASF have totalled 50-70 billion roubles (US$1.8-2.2 billion, on the basis of the exchange rates of the past years), with nearly 800,000 heads of pigs having been culled as a result, he said.

According to estimates by Russia’s Union of Pork Producers (RUPP), however, the country lost nearly 2 million head of pigs due to the virus’ spread over past decade. Total financial losses due to ASF are impossible to estimate, RUPP said, as ASF has changed the investment climate. It also increased the average price tag for every investment project by 5-7%, as better veterinary safety measures need applying at the constructed facilities.

Ukraine: Authorities looking west

Meanwhile, in neighbouring Ukraine, the veterinary authorities look west for help, by joining forces with the European Union to constrain the spread of the disease. Industry associations have insisted that the government should adopt a comprehensive long-term programme aimed at combating the virus.

Measures are needed to combat ASF in Ukraine and Russia. Here disinfection takes place in forests in Poland. Photo: Iwana Markowska-Daniel

On June 6, Volodimir Lapa, the head of the country’s veterinary service, Gosvetphitosluzba, signed a grant agreement with the European Union for measures combating ASF in Ukraine. The agreement, signed by European Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, provides aid from the EU to fight the disease in Ukraine, although full details have not been disclosed.

Losses due to ASF

On June 1, Ukraine’s Livestock Association issued a forecast on its website, saying that in 2017 the losses of Ukraine’s pig industry due to ASF will amount 1.5 billion hryvnia (US$57 million). Most market participants believe that this year is the worst in terms of the spread of the virus.

Irina Palamar, the head of Ukraine’s Livestock Association, called on the government to adopt a comprehensive programme to fight against the disease for the period 2017-2022. She noted that the programme has already been developed with several scientific organisations and manufacturers having participated. The document’s approval by the government, however, appears to be postponed for unknown reasons. Ms Palamar believes that the document covers all necessary measures to help the country gain control over the spread of ASF.