Swine fever crisis costs Latvia €4.5m

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Latvia has spent €4.47 million euros on fighting the outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) so far, Latvian Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs told newswire BNS Monday .

The minister said that the Food and Veterinary Service (PVD) has spent €1.586 million of that amount fighting the spread of the deadly animal disease, the Institute of Food Safety, Animal Health and Environment BIOR has spent €438,700 on laboratory tests, the Rural Support Service has paid out €1.4 million in compensations to pig owners, local authorities have spent €76,700 and the State Forest Service €77,400. Also, €839,000 have been allocated this year to the State Revenue Service and €52,700 to the State Border Guard, Duklavs said.

The agriculture minister also said that the precise extent of losses caused by the ASF outbreak in Latvia is hard to specify.

"As for farmers' losses, there is a problem with their calculations. Should we only count the losses from domestic pigs? Should we do the calculation based only on the meat price? We have been traveling around Latgale, for instance. There are people there whose business is swine breeding, namely, they keep sows and sell the piglets. This is how they make their living. So how do we assess their losses? If we only take into account the slaughtered sows, there are no losses at all, because if their meat is sold the price covers the sows' value. But is this right? I do not think so, because these people have been left without their livelihood. Should we count the unsold piglets? But how do we determine their future value?" the minister asked.

Over 165 wild boars have tested positive for ASF since the outbreak began in Latvia this fall, but no new ASF cases have been reported in domestic pigs since August.

ASF is an extremely dangerous and contagious virus infection affecting pigs.

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