May 27, 2019

Local issues undermine control of ASF in Vietnam


The misinterpretation of government orders and subsidy fraud are some local issues that have hindered the efforts of Vietnamese authorities to control the spread of African swine fever (ASF), local media reported.

According to Viet Nam News, The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has instructed localities hit by ASF to detect whether there has been fraud to take advantage of the Government's financial support for farmers whose pigs were infected and to deter further violations.

In a document on the prevention and control of ASF sent to cities and provinces last week, the Ministry said some households had deliberately made false or inflated claims about the number of dead pigs to cash in on subsidies.

The move came after local press reported fraud in northern Hải Dương Province.

The fraudulent claims have made it more difficult to tackle the spread of the disease.

Farmers found to have made fraudulent claims will be strictly fined.

Many households in Tứ Kỳ District's Bình Lãng Commune were found to have submitted claims for subsidies for dead pigs despite not owning any pigs. Some even made multiple claims.

Separately, anyone found to have deliberately kept information about infected pigs from the authorities would be fined, Phùng Đức Tiến, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said.

Culled pigs will be compensated at VNĐ38,000 (US$1.58) per kilogramme.

Separately, farmers in central Vietnam Dan Ly commune (Thanh Hoa Province) were reported by VnExpress to be unhappy with local authorities' response to ASF, including the ban on the slaughter and sale of pigs.

"We've heard on local media about African swine fever appearing in many places, but people are still allowed to butcher and sell (their products) normally. Why do they ban it here?" asked Thanh, a commune resident.

The commune was only following orders from the Trieu Son District authorities, said Bui Van Tinh, vice chairman of the Dan Ly Commune people's committee.

However, La Van Lam, head of the Trieu Son department of agriculture and rural development, said the commune had misinterpreted the district's orders.

"The district only banned butchering and selling pork against proper regulations. But the communal authorities missed the 'against proper regulations' part," said Lam.

Agreeing with Lam, Le Duc Giang, head of Thanh Hoa Province's department of agriculture and rural development, said that the commune had misinterpreted the order.

The Thanh Hoa provincial administration has since clarified the order to commune authorities, said Giang.

The Thanh Hoa department of agriculture and rural development elaborated that the sale of pork in areas affected by ASF is not banned if the pork is certified as not infected with the disease by relevant veterinary entities.

The same goes for butchering, which is allowed as long as the slaughterhouses are certified as meeting veterinary and food safety standards.