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Mexico, U.S. join efforts to eradicate ASF in Caribbean countries

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Regional exercise proposed with the purpose of testing the effectiveness, response capacity of the veterinary services of the Americas.

With the purpose of advancing the control and eradication of African swine fever in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and reducing the risk of dispersion to other countries in the Americas, technical working groups will be created led by specialists from Mexico and the United States. According to the Mexico Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the collaboration will strengthen veterinary services in these Caribbean nations.

In a virtual meeting with his American, Dominican and Haitian counterparts over the weekend, the head of the federal agency, Víctor Villalobos Arámbula, presented the proposal in which experts from the National Service for Agrifood Health, Safety and Quality will share their intelligence and experience in animal health, anti-epidemic measures and strengthening of inspection services at ports, airports and borders. 

Based on the ASF Megasimulation carried out in 2019 in Mexico, which included observers from the United States and Canada, the federal official proposed the programming of a regional exercise with the purpose of testing the effectiveness and response capacity of the veterinary services of the Americas and their productive sectors. To strengthen the actions of the technical groups, the proposal also acknowledged the work carried out in recent years by international bodies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture and the International Regional Organization for Agricultural Health.

Accompanied by the head of Senasica, Francisco Javier Trujillo Arriaga, Secretary Villalobos Arámbula said in recent years, Mexico has focused its preventive efforts on raising awareness in the industry and the population. In this sense, he proposed that comprehensive dissemination programs be established in Haiti since the migration of Haitian citizens, who may travel with contaminated products, is an aspect that must be addressed.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack, highlighted the 75-plus years of collaboration with Mexico in animal health matters, noting joint efforts will enhance the success of control actions and eradication in Caribbean countries.

Accompanied by the head of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Kevin Shea, the United States official assured that the joint effort in Haiti and the Dominican Republic could be utilized in the future to face new challenges in the field and in livestock, as a result of climate change and the mobilization of goods through tourism, trade and migration. He indicated that the APHIS will coordinate with Senasica and the health agencies of the Caribbean countries to carry out the first joint exercises as quickly as possible.

The Minister of Agriculture of the Dominican Republic, Limber Cruz, highlighted the support of the United States and Mexico to accelerate the eradication of the disease in his country and throughout the island. He explained since the first ASF outbreaks were detected, the Dominican government has increased containment actions and, to date, 95 veterinary teams are working in the field. Quarantine has been strengthened in ports and airports and the number of diagnostic tests has risen to more than 6,000 per week. Cruz said the dependency under his charge is aware of the degree of responsibility it has to eradicate the disease as soon as possible and prevent its spread to other nations of the continent.

The Minister of Agriculture of Haiti, Charlot Bredy, welcomed the support received in recent months by USDA, FAO and IICA, as it has been decisive in advancing in the control of the disease and in the training provided to the veterinary and productive sectors. He said that despite its financial limitations, the Haitian government has worked hard to address the risks in production units and has trained more than 4,000 producers to strengthen biosecurity measures and prevent the movement of live animals. He commented that they have been relying on laboratories in the United States for diagnostic process and to date of 1,984 samples from pigs, 529 have been confirmed positive, leading to a 3,500-head depopulation.

The agriculture ministers agreed that their technical teams will begin the exchange of information this week to draw up the work plan to be developed in the Caribbean region.

Source: Mexico Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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