Ukraine: African Swine Fever – Risk awareness-raising and risk mitigation
Ukraine’s meat sector has experienced major transformations over the last 25 years. The per capita consumption of pork recovered from about 12 kilograms per year in 2005 to about 20 kilograms in recent years. This was largely due to a growth in domestic pork production from 0.5 million tonnes (slaughter weight) in 2005 to 0.7 million tonnes in 2012. However, pork production in Ukraine is still far below the 1.6 million tonnes produced in Ukraine in 1990.
African swine fever (ASF), a serious swine disease, threatens to spread further in Ukraine. While ASF does not pose a direct threat to human health, it can impact livelihoods, food security, nutrition and incomes. The pork sector represents an important source of meat for the rural population and often generates valuable cash income. For instance, in 2009-2012, some industry analyst assessed that overall losses due to the disease in the Russian Federation reached almost USD 1 billion, with over 600 000 pig having died or been culled between 2007 to mid-2012.
In 2014, EBRD, with the support of the Government of Japan, called upon FAO’s considerable expertise to review the existing regulatory framework around ASF, improve contingency plans at the national and oblast levels, improve knowledge and awareness of local veterinaries, and raise awareness of smallholders and small and medium-sized pig farmers on ASF. The project is being implemented jointly by FAO, the EBRD, and the Government of Ukraine and the Association of Pig Producers.
Since its introduction to the Caucasus in Georgia in April 2007, ASF has progressively spread throughout the region, despite all prevention and control efforts and has also affected:
- the Russian Federation (2008)
- Azerbaijan (2008)
- Ukraine (2012)
- Belarus (2013)
- The Baltic States and Poland (2014)
Roughly half of the pig population (3 618 000) in Ukraine accounted for by smallholders/households in 2015. Given such a high predominance of smallholders and the challenges in adopting high biosecurity measures, the further spread of ASF in the country could lead to serious socio-economic consequences.
While vaccines or treatment are currently unavailable, outbreaks of ASF have been effectively controlled in some countries by stamping out and through the implementation of strict movement bans of swine and their products. Such measures are difficult to implement without well-equipped veterinary services, properly trained personnel and sufficient and timely access to funds – for operations compensation.
Dmitry Prikhodko; Dmitry.Prikhodko@fao.org