African Swine Fever Resurgence Sparks Concern Among Ivory Coast Pig Farmers

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The Ministry of Animal Resources has confirmed the resurgence of African swine fever, a highly contagious disease with a very high mortality rate among pig herds, in the Bouaflé department and Songon sub-prefecture. Fortunately, the virus is not transmissible to humans, but it remains the primary obstacle to the development of the pork industry in the Ivory Coast.

The re-emergence of African swine fever (ASF) is the worst fear of pig farmers. First identified in Ivory Coast in 1996, it has recurred five times between 2015 and 2023, resulting in a direct loss of 9.2 billion CFA francs, approximately 13.9 million euros, for the industry. During the 2016 epidemic, Ivory Coast lost almost its entire pig population.

Pig farmers are determined to prevent a recurrence of this scenario at all costs. The interprofessional association of pig farmers held a crisis meeting on Monday morning. Its vice president, Germain Nawoya, the leading pig farmer in Ivory Coast and president of the National Union of Pig Cooperative Societies of Ivory Coast (UNASCPORCI), openly expresses his concern. “When there is an outbreak somewhere, we systematically cull the affected herds. Within a three-kilometer radius, all farmers in the area lose their animals and their livelihoods. It’s quite challenging; there has been resistance in the Songon area, with some farmers refusing to have their animals culled. The situation is similar in Bouaflé.”

According to Germain Nawoya, a disruption in supply is anticipated in certain markets. With an annual consumption of 100,000 tons of pork in the Ivory Coast, ASF presents a significant setback for vendors of cooked pork, who typically offer a single product.

A cook at a small eatery in Angré expresses resignation, saying, “I only sell pork. I make it into soup, sauce… Well, if there’s no pork in the market anymore… Oh, I’ll have to look for another job!” Locally produced pork is highly favored by consumers, as noted by a loyal customer. “Honestly, I prefer African pork. I’ve been to the village, and I know the taste is different from imported pork. It’s better, less fatty, and since it’s not frozen, it’s fresher.”

The Ministry of Animal Resources has pledged compensation for farmers forced to cull their herds and urged the public to report any suspicious pig mortalities.

Soukaina Sghir

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