Imphal: Manipur’s Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Department has confirmed the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the state and has declared the Pig Farm of the Central Agriculture University (CAU) in Imphal West District as ‘epicentre’ of the contagious disease.
Officials on Sunday said Deputy Commissioner of the Imphal West district and Director, Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Department has jointly issued orders prohibiting movement and transportation of pig from the place where they were kept within the restricted area.
No person shall take out any animal of the notified species from the restricted area, dead or alive, the order said and declared Imphal West district as a restricted area with immediate effect to prevent, control and eradicate the infectious disease.
In exercise of the power under the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Disease in Animals Act, 2009, to control, containment and eradication of ASF in the infected zone covering 1 km radius of infected premises, any person who contravenes the provisions of the act or obstructs the competent officer performing duties under the act shall be guilty of an offence and punishable under the law, the official said.
The outbreak of ASF came to light after pig farmers bodies in Manipur reported deaths of pigs at various farms in the valley districts including Imphal West, Imphal East and Kakching.
Farmers reported pig deaths with symptoms like fever, loss of appetite, starvation, and death within a week.
Following a surge of deaths, the state Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Department had collected samples from affected piggeries for confirming if there is any outbreak of a disease in the state and sent the samples to the referral laboratory for northeastern states, the North Eastern Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (NERDDL) in Guwahati.
Officials said that the department confirmed the ASF outbreak based on the laboratory report.
Recently, prices of pork were also slashed down from Rs 350-380 to Rs 180-200 with retailers suddenly dropping the price of the meat after the pricing competition among the pig farmers and retailers, prompting non-veg eaters to make a beeline at pork outlets in Imphal city.
The highly-contagious ASF often creates havoc in various northeastern states including Mizoram every year, where during 2021 and 2022, over 33,400 pigs were killed, affecting over 10,000 families besides causing a financial loss of Rs 61 crore.
According to experts, the outbreak of ASF may have been caused by pigs or pork brought from neighbouring Myanmar, Bangladesh and the adjoining states of the northeast.
The northeast region’s annual pork business is worth around Rs 8,000-Rs 10,000 crore, with Assam being the largest supplier. Pork is one of the most common and popular meats consumed by both the tribals and non-tribals in the northeastern region.