Island neighbours funded to fight African swine fever

The Hon David Littleproud MP
Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia

• Timor-Leste’s ASF biosecurity response boosted by $180,000

• PNG also given additional $205,000 to aid recovery from 2020 ASF outbreak

• Australian support to manage ASF overseas minimises risk of domestic incursion

The Australian Government has given Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea (PNG) a helping hand in their battle to respond and recover from devastating African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said Timor-Leste had received $180,000 and PNG has received an extra $205,000 to help combat the effects of the highly contagious virus and mitigate future outbreaks.

“African swine fever hit Timor-Leste in September 2019. Between ASF and severe flooding that has blighted the country, Timor-Leste has lost more than 100,000 of its 420,000 pigs,” Minister Littleproud said.

“PNG has been battling an ASF incursion since March 2020. We understand how the animals play a vital cultural and economic role in both countries and the serious effects these outbreaks are having on their communities and livelihoods.

“In Timor-Leste, around 72 per cent of urban and rural households keep pigs. About 600,000 households in the PNG highlands rear nearly 1.8 million pigs, producing some 27,000 tonnes of pig meat annually.

“With Australia’s support, the Timor-Leste and PNG governments can continue the fight against ASF and other important animal diseases.

“Timor-Leste will use funds to increase linkages between animal health extension officers and farmers and encourage the adoption of ASF-safe pig farming practices.

“PNG funds will maintain essential road checkpoints, deploy field teams to respond to ASF disease reports and reinforce biosecurity messaging amongst smallholder farmers.”

The support is funded under the government’s $58.6 million ASF biosecurity response package.

Fast Facts:

• ASF is a viral disease with no effective vaccine, which can survive for long periods in uncooked, frozen, or cured pig-meat product and persists in contaminated pig pens for at least 30 days.

• The virus is spread primarily by close contact between pigs.

• ASF is exotic to Australia but present in neighbouring countries such as Timor-Leste and PNG and is widespread throughout Asia.

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.