Premier Su Tseng-chang on Saturday led a delegation of 14 central government ministers and agency heads to take part in an event offering sincere thanks to Taiwan's pork industry for their hard work in helping to prevent African swine fever (ASF) from invading the country. Premier Su said that the nation's success in protecting pig farming so far is the result of the people and government joining forces and working together, and that such work should continue.
Over the past seven months, cases of ASF have been reported in Vietnam, Mongolia, Laos, Hong Kong, North Korea and Myanmar. Taiwan has been truly fortunate to escape the scourge thus far, and the premier thanked all government ministries and agencies for their hard work in implementing a nationwide watertight seal against the virus.
Looking beyond the ASF epidemic, the premier said that Taiwan moved to cease vaccinations against foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in July 2018 to qualify for recognition from the World Organisation for Animal Health as a disease-free nation without vaccination. Should this status be approved in May 2020, it would put Taiwan on par with Japan as one of only two nations in East Asia declared FMD-free without vaccination, and would allow the country to resume exports of pork products and re-energize the development of the hog-farming industry. Open exports of pork to Japan alone would be worth NT$55 billion (US$1.8 billion).
In other FMD-related news, on August 14 the Council of Agriculture's Animal Health Research Institute successfully joined the Global Foot-and-Mouth Disease Research Alliance as a collaborator under the name "Taiwan," demonstrating that the nation's diagnostic and research achievements now meet international standards, and have received the recognition of the global community.