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Australia funds neighbouring countries in battle against ASF

The Australian Government has given Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea (PNG) a helping hand in their battle to respond and recover from devastating African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks.
calendar icon 5 January 2022
clock icon 1 minute read

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said Timor-Leste had received $180,000 and PNG has received an extra $205,000 to help combat the effects of the highly contagious virus and mitigate future outbreaks.

“African swine fever hit Timor-Leste in September 2019. Between ASF and severe flooding that has blighted the country, Timor-Leste has lost more than 100,000 of its 420,000 pigs,” Littleproud said.

“PNG has been battling an ASF incursion since March 2020," he added. "We understand how the animals play a vital cultural and economic role in both countries and the serious effects these outbreaks are having on their communities and livelihoods.

In Timor-Leste, around 72% of urban and rural households keep pigs, said Littleproud. About 600,000 households in the PNG highlands rear nearly 1.8 million pigs, producing some 27,000 tonnes of pig meat annually.

"With Australia’s support, the Timor-Leste and PNG governments can continue the fight against ASF and other important animal diseases," said Littleproud. “Timor-Leste will use funds to increase linkages between animal health extension officers and farmers and encourage the adoption of ASF-safe pig farming practices.

Littleproud said PNG funds will be used to maintain essential road checkpoints, deploy field teams to respond to ASF disease reports and reinforce biosecurity messaging amongst smallholder farmers.

The support is funded under the government’s $58.6 million ASF biosecurity response package.