Italy

ASSICA: One year after ASF

More than a year after the appearance of the veterinary disease on the Italian national continental territory, the situation has shown that it has been well managed so far.

Posted on Feb 24 ,00:16

ASSICA: One year after ASF

Government, Regions and companies have done their part in recent months: some by coordinating the activity at a central level and allocating resources to the Commissioner's activity, some by intervening with funds to support wildlife containment initiatives and support for companies in difficulty, some by stricter biosecurity measures, far beyond the regulatory and functional requirements to reduce the spread of a disease which, although not dangerous for humans, is still extremely contagious for animals and unfortunately still without treatments and vaccines.

"We are pleased that the actions put in place from the raising of containment fences to the carrying out of targeted selective cullings have so far made national pig farming safe - says Ruggero Lenti president of Assica - preventing the infections from reaching areas with a higher intensity of pigs and meat and cured meats production plants, areas in which the damages would have been unimaginable and very expensive to compensate".

The areas affected by the ASF disease are in fact limited to a few municipalities between Piedmont and Liguria and to some areas of Lazio, areas where fortunately there are few pig farms, but which border on geographical areas historically suited to pig farming and where they are concentrated over two thirds of the pigs reared in Italy, the basis for the production of fine PDO cured meats such as Parma ham and San Daniele ham.

"To guarantee peace and serenity to farmers and producers of meat and cured meats in a context already severely tested by many economic challenges – continued Lenti –it is imperative that the government does not let go of this issue. The recent significant increase in cases of positivity in wild boars in areas adjacent to those with a high pig vocation sounds like a strong alarm bell .

The matter must continue to remain under control: for this reason we invite the government to allocate a part of the resources of the national funds for agri-food development to the maintenance, consolidation and development of initiatives to contain and contrast the spread of the disease, allowing the commissioner structure - which has done a very good job so far - to act promptly and effectively. In the same way, we are certain that even the Regions directly involved will not fail to provide their support, including economic support for the management of the disease until its complete eradication, which we hope will take place as quickly as possible in order to free up millions of euros in exports, currently blocked due precisely to the ASF".

In the aftermath of the appearance of ASF on the Italian continental territory, many countries of the world blocked all exports of pork and cured meats from Italy, with a loss for the sector of 20 million euros per month of exports. The damage is moreover twofold, as in addition to the lack of exports, market shares are lost which become increasingly difficult to recover as time passes and the place is given to the Italian imitations: the demand for Italian cured meats abroad is substantial and not being able to send our products means that imitations find fertile ground instead of the originals.

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