Number of small pig farm drops by half following plague outbreak

Following the African swine fever outbreak the number of small pig farms has shrunk by half, said Dzintra Lejniece, head of the Latvian Pig Farmers' Association appearing on Latvian Radio August 9.

According to Lejniece, the number of pigs has not dropped significantly but rather there are systemic changes. "From a fragmented manufacturer, we've become a concentrated farming system," she said.

"There's a drop in the number of small farms, the farms that have one to nine pigs. They've actually shrunk by half and there are reasons for that," said Lejniece.

Small farms are often unable to follow bio-safety requirements and thus go defunct.

According to Lejniece, 88% of Latvia's pigs reside in just 43 of Latvia's pig farms. She said that local swine breeders cannot produce enough pork to meet domestic demand. Currently Latvia produces 57% of the pork it consumes, down from 65% in 2014. 

According to LETA, this year African swine fever has been found in 829 wild boars in 178 counties in 71 regions in Latvia.

The outbreak of the pig plague started in Latvia in June 2014 not far from the border with Belarus.

African swine fever is an extremely dangerous and contagious virus infection affecting pigs. If an infected pig is found in a farm, all pigs in the particular farm have to be culled, which means big losses for farmers.

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