The tally of pigs that have died from African swine fever (ASF) has climbed to at least 7 000 as the disease spread from Zambia’s Luapula Province into neighbouring Northern Province.
Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Michael Katambo said government had prioritised culling in the affected areas, and released K1 million to conduct the exercise.
“Culling is the only way to stop the spread of the disease. The money that has been released would go to Luapula while we mobilise for funds for Northern Province to continue with the exercise,” Katambo said.
According to authorities, the disease had claimed more than 7 000 pigs in Luapula and Northern provinces. The disease was first detected in Luapula’s Samfya District in October has now spread to five districts in Northern Province. It was estimated that as many as 20 000 pigs were at risk in the affected areas.
“We are appealing to members of the public to corporate with veterinary officers as they carry out investigations. People are also advised to observe quarantine measures and report abnormal behavior of their animals,” said Northern Province Permanent Secretary Jobix Kalumba.
In Luwingu, one of the five districts where ASF spread, 952 pigs had died while an estimated 5 000 pigs in the district were at risk.
The Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) says it was collaborating with authorities in the affected areas to sensitise communities on measures to contain the disease.
“We have field officers in the provinces and districts that have been deployed to work alongside authorities to ensure the disease was contained,’ said ZNFU public relations manager, Calvin Kaleyi.