Poland, Baltics seek more cash for swine fever battle
According to the statement, the countries have asked the EC to raise funding for anti-epizootic measures from the current level of 75% to 100% of all costs for the next three to five years. For instance, in 2014 the level of support was close to €2.7 million.
“These funds are requested to cover the cost of veterinary monitoring at the farms, collecting and transportation of samples [of pigs], transportation of dead pigs and other measures aimed at fighting against the disease,” explained Janis Duklavs, Latvia’s Minister of Agriculture.
However, it is still unclear if the list of measures will include support for pig farmers. The original statement does not include this point.
According to Estonian agriculture minister Urmas Kruuze, Estonia is forecasting that it will spend €12.7m this year alone in combating ASF.
“So far the overall spend on fighting ASF in Estonia has amounted to €620,000. We hope that about 75% of all outlay will be covered by the EC,” he stated. “Out of the predicted 2015 spend €2.7 million will be used to support small farms, while €10m will be used to help larger farms.”
Experts estimated that, together with the support for pig farmers, overall funding to combat ASF could reach €50m. Every year this figure is likely to increase as, according to a recent report from the Latvian Food and Veterinary Service, ASF is moving west and covering new areas at a speed of 100km per year.
If these estimates are correct, then countries in Central Europe have nothing to fear, as the closest ASF outbreaks to Germany, for example, were detected in the Podladsky Voevodstvo of Poland on the border with Belarus, a distance of 780km from the border with Slovakia and 1,060km away from Germany’s border.
Number of cases growing
However, Russian veterinary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor, which has systematically criticized the measures taken by the Baltic States to counter ASF, pointed out that the number of ASF cases in the region is growing, with a geometric progression. According to Rosselkhoznadzor, as of May 1 the number of outbreaks in the four countries had risen to 403, but by August this figure had more than doubled to 903.
Given this situation, representatives of the pig industries in the Baltic States and Poland have appealed to the authorities to not only increase the amount of money spent in combating the disease, but also to develop a joint approach on the issue. It is expected that an attempt to achieve this will be coordinated in September.
“Given the deteriorating situation [on ASF] in the Baltic region, in early September of this year the EC is planning to convene senior veterinary specialists from these countries to discuss strategies to combat ASF further and find ways to prevent the spread of this dangerous virus,” claimed Jonas Milius, head of the Lithuanian State Food and Veterinary Service.