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Epidemic Killing Thousands Of Pigs In Northwest 

By Chris Mbunwe — An unidentified disease is ravaging thousands of pigs and piglets across the Northwest Region everyday.

Pig farmers are helpless because officials of the Regional Delegation of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry, are yet to identify the disease, since samples of specimen sent to Yaounde have not yet been returned.

Steps taken by the Administration to stem the epidemic have been more on radio announcements warning pig farmers and dealers to limit the movement of pigs only around their pigsties.

In a recent prefectoral release, the Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, for Mezam, Joseph Bertrand Mache Njounwet, insists that any pig farmer caught transporting pigs out of the Division or the Northwest shall be dealt with accordingly.

In a radio interview over CRTV Bamenda on June 27, the Regional Delegate of Livestock, Dr. Walters Agari, sounded very desperate, saying the current disease cannot be identified because the Region has not got the laboratory that can identify the disease.

“We are bound to wait until Yaounde gives us the results of the specimen we sent to them,” he said while advising farmers to keep their pigsties clean.

He said the clinical symptom that is very visible in any pig that has been attacked by the disease is general body weakness; the pig loses appetite and refuses to eat or even drink water.

Another symptom is that the pig sits in a dog position, as if it is relaxing on the buttocks and at the worst stage the pig lies on the ground for several hours without changing its position.

A pig farmer and newspaper vendor, Jean Paul Wafo, said though he vaccinated his pigs, this was not the first time the disease was attacking his farm.

“When it first hit the Region some time ago, I lost 18 pigs and I learnt a lesson, so, this time around, I sold most of the animals and I was left only with a few out of which only one died,” said Wafo.

Another farmer, Nico Ndeh, who lost four pigs to the epidemic, said in financial terms, he is unable to assess the loss but that it is worth a fortune.

He said the fact that the disease is attacking pigs towards school reopening; it is going to be very rough for his family.

“You cannot imagine that a pig that could have been sold for, at least, FCFA 200.000, buyers are offering FCFA 10.000 or FCFA 15.000,” he said.

Meantime, pork consumers in Bamenda and other towns hit by the disease are not scared in the least, as a slice of pork for FCFA 500 can be consumed by three to four persons.

“We settled down yesterday evening on a plate of pork and we were unable to finish it,” one Jones Mbeh remarked.

First published in The Post print edition no. 01354

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