The Estonian pig farmers can apply for financial support to increase investments into safety measures, as the pork industry is hit by spreading African swine fever.
The application process will last from August 17-31 and farmers can either ask for support implementing better hygine measures or for exiting the pork industry altogether.
The Ministry of Rural Affairs said that if the price of pork in Estonia decreases substantially, the government will also apply for financial aid from the European Commission, in which case Estonia would still have to cover half of the associated costs.
The highly contagious African swine fever virus started spreading among farmed pigs in Estonia in July. Over 2,000 animals have now been exterminated, but there have been fears that that the number will be much higher soon, as the Veterinary and Food Board is gradually checking farms.
African swine fever is a highly contagious and fatal disease of domestic and feral pigs, transmitted through direct and indirect contacts, ingestion of contaminated feed-stuffs and by certain tick vector species. It is considered one of the most dangerous diseases of pigs, with a mortality rate close to 100 percent and no vaccine or drugs currently available for either cure or prevention.
Although the disease does not pose a threat to humans, it affects trade and has a serious socio-economic impact on people’s livelihood.
Pork has for centuries been a staple food in Estonia.
Editor: S. Tambur