African swine fever outbreak confirmed in Nigeria’s largest pig farm

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FILE PHOTO: Pigs are seen on a farm at a village in Changtu county, Liaoning province, China January 16, 2019. REUTERS/Ryan Woo/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Pigs are seen on a farm. REUTERS/Ryan Woo/File Photo

One of Nigeria’s largest pig co-operative farms, located in Lagos State, has been affected by an outbreak of the deadly African swine fever.

According to a farmer at the Oke Aro farm, who spoke to the BBC, about 300,000 pigs have been killed so far.

Ayo Omirin said that nearly 99 percent of the pig pens on the farm had been infected.

“We have lost four farmers as a result of shock, two of them slumped and died on the farm,” Omirin said. According to the co-operative’s president Adewale Oluwalana, the last case of African swine fever hit Oke Aro farm was in 2008.

The virus, which can kill pigs within a few days, can be transmitted by direct contact with infected pigs and wild boars or through infected animal feed and on clothing and farm equipment.

The farm, reportedly the largest in West Africa, is managed by the Lagos State government and is a source of livelihood to about 3,000 farmers. Despite its size, it is unable to meet the demands of the region in terms of pig products.

Lagos State agriculture spokesman Jide Lawal said that a sensitisation exercise was ongoing to advise farmers on how to protect the surviving livestock.

The state government had distributed food aid to affected farmers and dispatched a team to fumigate farms in the south-west region, Lawal said.

The confirmation of the disease will spread fear among several households which rely on pig rearing to lift them out of poverty.

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