The exercise highlighted the importance of having a contingency plan that considers key issues for the industry, such as compensating producers, securing business continuity at the national level, mitigating the impact on exports, status recovery, and communication strategies to tackle the disease.
The spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the last decade and its recent confirmation in the Dominican Republic and Haiti has prompted all official veterinary agencies in South America to improve prevention and surveillance measures, as well as to review their capacity to respond to the possibility of the disease’s arrival.
Chile, as a leading country in this type of preventive action, organized a review of the ASF contingency plan via the National Emergency System (SNE) of the Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG), which conducted a simulation exercise on November 23rd and 24th with the various actors that would be part of the response in the event of an ASF outbreak in the country.
The pork industry actively participated in the simulation, which was conducted via discussion groups within professionals from the public and private sectors who assessed the contingency plan for the various scenarios that were simulated.
“This cabinet simulation exercise aims to review certain official SAG documents, to put them to the test and check if they are really competent when facing a health emergency. The exercises are based on discussions to familiarize participants with the contingency plans. The goal is to improve the plans, policies, procedures, and coordination,” said María Ignacia Apel, Head of Animal Health and Welfare at ChileCarne.
The activity was attended by María Emilia Undurraga, Minister of Agriculture; Horacio Bórquez, National Director of SAG; and Juan Carlos Domínguez, President of ChileCarne; in addition to other 45 participants from the public and private sectors.
During the simulation, several groups were organized to discuss everything from suspicion to confirmation of ASF, zoning, how to make an operations center; stamping out policy; conducting an epidemiological investigation, cleaning and disinfection of infected areas, surveillance, and biosecurity.
New topics were added such as compensating producers, securing business continuity at the national level, mitigating the impact on exports, status recovery, and communication strategies.
“There was a lot of discussion about business continuity and mitigation of the impact on exports, because those issues are not usually covered by SAG as part of a contingency plan. And this reinforces the need to have a robust public-private joint work in the face of a health emergency, as well as communicating these emergencies properly,” added ChileCarne’s María Ignacia Apel.
The final assessment of the cabinet simulation exercise will be presented in mid-December, when the results from the team of evaluators who attended the drill will be available, leading to the final report.