Innovative Research Offers New Hope for Managing African Swine Fever Better in Resource-Limited Smallholder Farming Settings: A Timely Update : Review
African swine fever (ASF) in domestic pigs has, since its discovery in Africa more than a century ago, been associated with subsistence pig keeping with low levels of biosecurity. Likewise, smallholder and backyard pig farming in resource-limited settings have been notably affected during the ongoing epidemic in Eastern Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Caribbean regions. Many challenges to managing ASF in such settings have been identified in the ongoing as well as previous epidemics. Consistent implementation of biosecurity at all nodes in the value chain remains most important for controlling and preventing ASF. Recent research from Asia, Africa, and Europe has provided science-based information that can be of value in overcoming some of the hurdles faced for implementing biosecurity in resource-limited contexts. In this narrative review we examine a selection of these studies elucidating innovative solutions such as shorter boiling times for inactivating ASF virus in swill, participatory planning of interventions for risk mitigation for ASF, better understanding of smallholder pig-keeper perceptions and constraints, modified culling, and safe alternatives for disposal of carcasses of pigs that have died of ASF. The aim of the review is to increase acceptance and implementation of science-based approaches that increase the feasibility of managing, and the possibility to prevent, ASF in resource-limited settings. This could contribute to protecting hundreds of thousands of livelihoods that depend upon pigs and enable small-scale pig production to reach its full potential for poverty alleviation and food security.