EU also threatened by swine fever, warns minister

  • 2014-07-31
  • From wire reports, VILNIUS

Lithuania's Minister of Agriculture Virginija Baltraitiene has warned that the deadly African swine fever could spread to other EU states.

African swine fever was detected on one of Lithuania's biggest pig farms earlier this year sparking mass death rates in pigs. A state of emergency was later declared in several counties to curb the spread of the disease.

Polish and Baltic officials yesterday agreed to joint measures towards tackling the disease.

But Lithuanian agriculture minister Virginija Baltraitiene now says the European Commission should do more to combat the spread of the fever which spreads havoc in farms, reports ELTA.

She said: "I believe that the European Commission should make a financial contribution to solving the issue of markets as well, as we will not close borders; this plague may reach the old EU member states; therefore, a more global approach to this issue should be taken.”

"Sheep, goat rearing, cattle farming  is a priority at this financial period of the EU," the minister told the Vakaro Zinios newspaper.

"Let us hope that in the future more EU assistance will come, particularly to this sector. In addition, while developing stock breeding many jobs are created; as a result, social problems are being solved at the same time, stock breeding generates a higher added value.”

Taking into consideration difficult relations with Russia, a key task at present is to expand markets, Baltraitiene added.

“From next year our attache in China will begin working; he is instructed to work with Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese markets. Dairy export to Brazil is being discussed; we expect the U.S. market to open up.”

(Edited by Rayyan Sabet-Parry)