(Bloomberg) -- Vietnam culled more than 1.7 million pigs as African swine fever spread across the country, with officials warning the disease may penetrate sizable commercial farms next.
About 5% of the nation’s pig population has been culled as the number of infected provinces and cities increased to 42, the government said on its website. The epidemic will likely continue expanding to other locations and bigger farms, according to the agricultural ministry’s forecasts.
The rainy season and subsequent flooding in the southwestern region of the Mekong Delta has exacerbated the spread of the disease and affected the burial of culled animals. Even in areas where there have been no new cases for at least 30 days, outbreaks may recur, the government said.
The government said it has received feedback on a higher compensation rate for affected farmers. The current rate of 38,000 dong ($1.62) per kilogram for live hogs is prompting farmers to hide or delay reports of infections. They also try to sell infected animals.
In Dong Nai province, known as the “pig capital” of Vietnam, authorities will prosecute farmers who had fought against the culling of their sickened pigs. Slaughtering infected pigs for meat is still occurring there, the government said.
The government is encouraging the rearing of poultry, cattle and other livestock to make up for possible shortage of pork.
Agriculture Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong is ordering large and small farms whose pigs have been infected to stop breeding hogs for now. The ministry is directing local governments to help those pig farmers find new livelihoods.
(Updates with agriculture minister’s orders to farms in last paragraph.)
--With assistance from John Boudreau.
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