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Swine fever threatens food security in Nigeria, FAO warns

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned that African Swine Fever, if not immediately contained, could pose a huge threat to food security in Nigeria. FAO Country Representative, Fred Kafeero, disclose this during the opening ceremony of a workshop for pig value chain operators in Plateau State recently. African swine fever virus is a large, double-stranded DNA virus of the Asfarviridae family.

The virus causes hemorrhagic fever, with a high mortality rate in domestic pigs. It broke out in several pig farms in Lagos and other parts of the country, killing thousands of pigs and incurring losses for several pig farmers. Kafeero, who was represented by FAO Communication specialist, David Tsokar, noted that the situation was peculiar, hence the need to gear up efforts to prevent another outbreak.

He said: “Unlike other Trans-boundary Animal Diseases (TADs), ASF has no known cure or vaccine. “The only remedy for its prevention remains strict adherence to basic hygienic practices commonly known as bio-security measures.

Operators, therefore, need to embrace biosecurity measures as an option. We are training operators in the value chain in 20 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). “The operators in the value chain are very strategic in the effort to control the spread of the disease. They are the marketers, distributors, producers and farmers that must be properly capacitated to save livelihoods and mitigate food insecurity.”

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