The Croatian Association of Pig Farmers (UHPS) warned on Friday that the situation with African Swine Fever (ASF) is alarming and is threatening the otherwise poor pig production in Croatia.
“If the disease spreads outside Vukovar-Srijem County, even only to (adjacent) Osijek-Baranja County, we estimate that it will result in €200 million in damages,” the association said in a statement, warning that Croatia might become “a red zone with a ban on pig and pork exports.”
Given the so far slow operational response to the ASF outbreak, the UHPS expects the prices of pigs to fall by up to 50%, which even large producers will not be able to endure, as a result of which there will be a major decline in production.
The indirect damage caused by ASF so far has been estimated at €5 million.
In just two and a half months, the ASF infection spread from two cases of domestic pigs and two municipalities to more than 800 yards and 20 local government units. More than 17,000 analyses of wild boars had been carried out since 2019 and all returned negative, while five new positive cases were identified in just two months in the counties along the River Sava and in parts of Karlovac and Lika-Senj Counties, the statement said.
This shows that the situation is not under control, that the preparations for defence against ASF and operational procedures after the confirmation of the disease have not been adequate and are not producing results, it added.
The disease is spreading also because of the slow and irresolute implementation of eradication within a three-kilometre radius of the outbreak, inadequate crisis communication with farmers, media and the public, while orders from the Veterinary Directorate are unclear and difficult to implement or unimplementable.
The removal of animals from the infected areas is slow because of the lack of veterinarians at certified organisations, which are poorly equipped, the UHPS said, concluding that the present operational procedures should be urgently changed if the diseases was to be contained.