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Mfuleni pig farmers hit hard by African Swine Fever outbreak

Babalwa Boyce who started her piggery farm business during lockdown says the African Swine Fever outbreak has shut down her business.

Babalwa Boyce who started her piggery farm business during lockdown says the African Swine Fever outbreak has shut down her business.

Published Mar 2, 2021

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Cape Town - Emerging pig farmers who have lost their pigs to the reported African swine fever (ASF) outbreak in Mfuleni, north of Khayelitsha, are reeling following the subsequent ban on pig sales.

Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer announced on Thursday that ASF had been identified on two smallholding farms in Mfuleni and Eerste River. He further placed a ban on the sale and movement of live pigs from Mfuleni to limit the disease’s spread.

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Khanyiso Sika of Mfuleni, who got into the business in 2016 when he lost his job, said 30 of his pigs had died from the outbreak. “We are in trouble as pig farmers, now the department wants to ban the sale of pigs. We acknowledge the outbreak and if we sell it would cause more problems. We understand that. But now what do we do? The government is failing us farmers and is failing to understand our situation. We depend 100% on these pig sales. Even the pigs that did survive, their survival depends on those sales,” he said.

Babalwa Boyce said losing her pigs a few months after she started her business had left her desperate. “I had 17 pigs. Two of those pigs were pregnant and another one had 10 piglets. They all died. I started my farm during lockdown and now (the animals) are all dead. We survive on these pigs, so what do we do now? All my pigs have died, I am only left with one,” she said.

Another farmer, Nomfundiso Ramba, said customers were running away. “I lost 32 pigs. The pigs that died are the same pigs we should have sold to make money. What can we do with the pigs that have survived so they are safe from getting the swine fever and we can sell them again?” Ramba asked.

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Meyer said their vets would continue to work closely with the affected farmers.

“The department’s priority is to limit the impact of the infection. The ban on the movement and sale of pigs is aimed at ensuring that the infection is limited to the geographical area where it has been identified. Failure to do so places the entire industry at risk.”

He added that a meeting between national, provincial and industry bodies was scheduled for this week.

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The Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary Services head, Dr Gininda Msiza, said this was the first time ASF had been diagnosed in the province, and samples had been submitted to ARC-Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Institute to determine the genotype and possibly the source of the infection.

Cape Times

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