Tue, Dec 25, 2018 - Page 2 News List

COA to fund pig feed transition

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Pigs are pictured on a farm in Pingtung County on Monday last week.

Photo: Yeh Yung-chien, Taipei Times

Starting from next week, hog farmers who use leftovers to feed pigs can apply for government subsidies to switch to fodder or stop raising pigs as part of measures proposed to prevent African swine fever (ASF) from being transmitted through food, the Council of Agriculture (COA) announced yesterday.

Since China reported its first infection in August, the government has stepped up quarantine measures against the disease, including by opening a central emergency operation center last week, COA Acting Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference in Taipei.

The new municipal heads elected on Nov. 24 are to assume office today and Chen invited them to join a council drill simulating an ASF outbreak tomorrow.

At the event, he urged local governments to work with the council on disease prevention.

Food is a major transmission channel of the virus, so the council has inspected 2,045 hog farms using leftovers to feed their pigs and required their keepers to heat leftovers to 90°C for at least an hour before using them a feed, he said.

Nearly 650,000 pigs — or 12 percent of the nation’s farmed pigs — are fed leftovers at the farms, of which 66, mostly in Yunlin County, are not equipped with heating equipment, council data showed.

Heating equipment costs about NT$100,000 to NT$3 million (US$3,243 to US$97,283), which means it is out of reach for smaller farmers, so many choose to use fodder instead, council Department of Animal Industry section head Jiang Wen-chuan (江文全) said.

For farmers switching to fodder, the council offers subsidies of up to NT$2,200 per pig to make up for the price difference, Jiang said, adding that the officially registered number of pigs would determine the maximum amount.

Farmers whose livestock farms are not registered, but located in designated agricultural areas can also apply for subsidies based on farm sizes, he said.

Those who give up raising pigs qualify for compensation of NT$200,000 to NT$500,000, depending on farm size, and could receive additional subsidies to cover demolition costs, he said.

Applications for the two policies can be filed from Wednesday next week to March 31 and farmers should apply with their local governments, Jiang added.

Most pig species can switch from leftovers to fodder quite easily, but Taiwanese black pigs, which make up about 10 percent of farmed pigs, might take longer to adapt, Swine Association secretary-general Chang Sheng-chin (張生金) said.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top