Estonian pig farms free of African swine fever for two years

A warning sign at a farm where ASF has been detected. Photo is illustrative.
A warning sign at a farm where ASF has been detected. Photo is illustrative. Source: ERR

Sept. 19 marked two years since African swine fever (ASF) was last detected at a pig farm in Estonia, the Veterinary and Food Board (VTA) and the Estonian Hunters' Society (EJS) said.

"Behind the good result is undoubtedly the great work of several parties," VTA Deputy Director General Olev Kalda said in a press release. "But the risk of ASF has definitely not disappeared. It is still important to keep the wild boar population under control, the goal of which is to inhibit the spread of the disease in the forest and reduce the risk of ASF reaching farms."

The VTA inspects the biosafety of pig farms on a quarterly basis. The last time that ASF reached domestic pigs in Estonia was two years ago. Despite the fact that no cases of ASF in domestic pigs have been recorded in Estonia over the last two years, however, the disease continues to actively spread in nearby Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.

"Cooperation between hunters, pig farms and veterinarians is a good example of how joint activity provides the best results as well as results in significant economic savings for society," EJS President Margus Puust said.

Altogether 76 cases of ASF have been detected in wild board in Estonia this year. Hunters must continue to hunt wild boar within the confines of the increase, guided by the population concentration, which is up to one individual per 1,000 hectares. This year, hunters are to hunt 5,050 wild boar.

The meat industry is showing signs of getting over the impact of ASF.

"Meat production volumes have increased," Siret Läets, head of marketing at Saaremaa Lihatööstus, said in an Estonian Food Industry Association press release on Friday. "This is a sign that we are recovering from ASF."

Estonian food industry companies produced some €800 million worth of output in the first six months of 2019, one third of which was exported. Sales revenue for the period grew 6 percent and accounted for 15 percent of the total revenue of the manufacturing industry. The biggest branches of the food sector were the dairy industry, which accounted for 21 percent of total output, and the meat industry, which accounted for 17 percent.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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