President Iohannis slams Gov’t over mishandling the African swine fever outbreak


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President Klaus Iohannis has asked the Government on Wednesday to take immediate actions to stop the spread of the African swine fever outbreak and to urgently compensate the affected pig farmers. The President’s request comes one day after the Agriculture minister has minimised the problems caused by the swine fever.

Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis is urging the Government to urgently take all necessary measures to stop the increase of the African swine fever outbreaks, while sounding a serious alarm bell over the major risks generated by the explosive spread of this virus,” reads a press release issued by the Presidential Administration.

The administration argues that due to the poor management of this crisis, the PSD Government have pushed the local pig farmers on the verge of bankruptcy.

At present, there are over 700 hot zones in 10 counties in Romania, including in Ilfov county, near Bucharest, with an alarming spread pace in store.

About 140,000 pigs will be slaughtered, this week, at a farm in Braila County, the largest pig breeding and raising farm in Romania, the second largest in Europe. As a matter of fact all large pig farms in southeastern country are on the verge of bankruptcy.

Up to date, more than 150,000 pigs have already been slaughtered in 156 localities, in 10 counties throughout the country. The number will double after the slaughtering of pigs from Gropeni farm (141,000 pigs) and Tichilesti (35,000).

Damages of tens of million of euros are already reported, thousands will lose their jobs, not to mention that Romania risks losing  major commercial opportunities. More details here.

We are talking about major implications for the national economy, as the virus is jeopardizing all commercial pig farms in Romania, which produce about half of the total of the pork delivered for domestic consumption.

The current situation shows the Government is not capable of managing the situation of the African swine fever, which has serious consequences for the Romanian economy. The authorities responsible for this have not informed the producers and the population efficiently and in due time on the major risks of the ASFV spread.

Caught up in the fight with the Judiciary, to obtain its subordination, the PSD ruling has forgotten to fight with the African swine fever, the most serious plague that the Romanian stock breeding has faced so far,” the Presidency argues.

The President reminds that in 2016, the Government back then established by government resolution the necessary actions to prevent and counter the African swine fever, adding that this year, the authorities have been once again caught off the guard, despite the warnings and precedents on the speed of ASFV outbreak.

Romania’s President is asking the Executive to enforce all norms and prevention measures imposed  by such situations, including to provide the bio-security barriers to restrict the spread of the virus. The deficiencies on this line have contributed to the quick extension of the epidemic (…)

Despite the European Commission’s warnings, after the virus has been tracked down in the Danube Delta, no necessary actions have been taken to prevent the extension of the virus to other areas,” further reads the release.

Iohannis also warn the Government and the agriculture authorities that they owe some explanations on how it was possible that no proper actions had been taken to isolate the existing outbreaks and keep them under control.

The Government must also explain the action of removing, as of spring this year, of the mandatory health inspections across households, considering the Executive was fully aware of the danger of the African swine fever right from the start of 2017.

For weeks, the authorities have been proving their incompetence to stop this disaster and seem to watch from the sidelines how this virus is spreading, without adequate, firm measures to bring the situation under control.

President Iohannis considers that, at this moment, the priority should be to take all measures to prevent the virus spread and to immediately compensate the affected producers, in the view of mitigating the social impact.

At the same time, all those who have improperly managed this crisis will have to assume responsibility,” the press release concludes.

On Tuesday, Agriculture Minister Petre Daea, said that only 10 percent of the pigs must be sacrificed, while vowing that all the affected pig farms will get compensations.

While presenting his activity report, the minister made no reference to the African swine fever. Only when he was asked by the journalists, the minister said this crisis could not be avoided „due to the landscape of the country”. Questioned if he considers resignation over this crisis, the minister preferred to remain silent.

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