Tuesday, April 23, 2024

NZPork signs biosecurity pact with MPI

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Response and duties in event of an incursion laid out in agreement.
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NZPork has signed an agreement with the Ministry for Primary Industries to manage a response in the event of a biosecurity incursion impacting the sector.

Alongside the Operational Agreement (OA), a biosecurity levy framework for New Zealand’s pork sector will be established to provide a funding option if a disease affecting pigs enters the country. 

NZPork chief executive Brent Kleiss said New Zealand’s pork sector is largely disease-free compared to many other pork-producing countries and the OA will enable swift action to limit the impacts of any outbreak.

“Signing the OA means NZPork has direct involvement in biosecurity readiness and response decision-making and ensures our own industry expertise is used in the process.

“It provides clarity about how NZPork, on behalf of commercial farmers, would work with MPI to respond to a pig-specific non-zoonotic exotic disease incursion.

“It covers how joint decision-making would occur, who provides funding and how much funding would be available to activate and undertake an exotic disease response.”

More than 90% of pig farmers responding to NZPork’s consultation supported signing the OA. 

NZPork chair Eric Roy said the OA applies to the diseases the NZ pork sector is most concerned about and includes a cost sharing arrangement in the event of an incursion, where the government would contribute 60% and the industry 40%.

“This agreement recognises the increased risk to the industry posed by imported product, which makes up approximately 60% of pork consumed in New Zealand.

“New Zealand’s domestic pig herd has a very high health status and NZPork is strongly focused on protecting it from the risk of major threats including African Swine Fever (ASF) and Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), which have severely impacted pork producers in many countries,” Roy said. 

After signing the agreement, NZPork met MPI to discuss potential readiness projects.

“Clarifying processes around destruction, disposal and disinfection and running a simulation exercise of an ASF incursion to test updated biosecurity plans were agreed as priorities.”

The major risk for the diseases entering the NZ pig herd is through imported meat. It is illegal to feed any pigs in NZ waste food containing untreated meat scraps. NZPork also works closely with MPI to ensure there are robust border controls in place. 

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