GOVERNMENT has paid out K394,516 to 97 farmers whose pigs were slaughtered following an outbreak of the African swine fever (ASF) in some parts of Southern Province.
And the farmers have thanked Government for fulfilling its promise of compensating them for the slaughtered pigs.
African swine fever virus (ASFV) is the causative agent of ASF. The virus causes a haemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in pigs.
ASF broke out in April this year and the department of veterinary services in Choma district has so far slaughtered over 1,000 pigs worth over K300,000 at Macha veterinary camp.
Speaking in Macha on Wednesday during the handover of cheques to the 97 farmers, Southern Province veterinary officer Charles Maseka said compensation of the farmers is a demonstration that Government cares about livestock farmers in the region.
“Government has fulfilled its promise of compensating you for the pigs that were slaughtered. We have brought cheques worth K394,516.79 for all of you,” Dr Maseka said.
He said Government remains committed to monitoring and curbing ASF because the disease poses a threat to the pork industry.
To prevent the spread of ASF, the department of veterinary services in Choma has quarantined ASF high risk zones and banned the transportation of pigs and pork products.
“ASF has no cure and this disease is of national economic importance because this money we are giving you should have gone towards other areas of development. Anyone found illegally transporting pigs or pork products will be arrested because the transportation ban is still in effect,” Dr Maseka said.
Earlier, Chief Macha, who also received a cheque worth over K100,000, said he is happy that his subjects have been compensated.
The chief urged his subjects to consult agriculture extension officers on how best to rear pigs and prevent them from acquiring diseases.
And in a vote of thanks on behalf of the farmers, Lameck Chikashi said: “God should bless Government for fulfilling its promise of compensating us. We have been patiently waiting for this money and it’s now here. This Government is trustworthy, God bless you,” Mr Chikashi said.
Southern Province has a pig population of 143,846 with a trade value of K70 million making the pork industry lucrative for livestock farmers in the region.
Zambia Daily Mail