Source: The Borneo Post
KUCHING (Nov 23): Stakeholders in the swine industry have been urged to cooperate with the Sarawak government to curb the spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF) in the state.
Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said they should not rely on the authorities alone for prevention and control of ASF.
“So far we have contained the pig farming area (PFA) in Tanah Puteh, Simunjan because they have very good compartmentalisation where they can control it.
“Nonetheless, I need to have full cooperation from the public as well as the authorities.
“It is almost or near impossible for the authorities to do it alone, but with cooperation of the public especially pig farmers, we should be able to contain ASF,” he said in his winding up speech on the Veterinary Public Health (Amendment) Bill, 2022 at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Sitting today.
He was responding to Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Padungan) who had earlier in his debate, sought for clarification on what was the current status of ASF control in the state.
Chong had opined that measures to control the spread of ASF have not been very effective resulting in pig farming industries in the state facing a lot of challenges.
“I have received feedback from pork sellers during my visits to markets that there’s a serious shortage of pork supply and that is also one of the reasons why the price of pork has increased many times over the last year.
“They are seeking help from the government to be more generous in helping these affected farms,” he said.
On the authorisation of Immune Belt Enforcement Team (IBET) officers under the Sarawak Security and Enforcement Unit to assist the Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVSS) to administer vaccination and carry out relevant statutory functions and duties of the State Veterinary Authority, the DAP Sarawak chairman suggested that the state government should consider employing more staff under the authority as opposed to allowing other public officers to assist them.
He said engaging IBET was not the solution to the shortage of manpower faced by DVSS as there are specific functions and duties involved.
“If DVSS is short-handed, then the correct way to resolve this problem is to increase employees and staff of the authority rather than to try and put together other officers or other government servants from other departments or ministries to help out in this duty undertaken by DVSS,” he said, noting that the officers may not be experienced in handling issues of rabies or other issues involving animals.
“What the government should do is to allocate more budget in employing more staff who are properly trained to be assigned under the veterinary authority.
“That would be more effective in helping to carry out the duties under the authorities,” he added.
The Veterinary Public Health (Amendment) Bill, 2022 was unanimously passed at DUN Sitting today.