Farmers' perception of the epidemic of African Swine Fever in Nigeria
Livestock diseases constitute a great threat to protein availability in Nigeria. It is thus necessary to examine how much farmers know about some deadly diseases prevalent in their stock as it would afford the farmer a timely re-adjustment to prevent foreseeable losses. The focus of this study was to determine farmers' level of awareness of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Agege Area of Lagos State, Nigeria. Primary data were collected with the use of a questionnaire administered to one hundred and twenty (120) respondents selected using the purposive sampling technique. Twenty-seven (27) pig farms were also visited to obtain on-farm data on pig mortality during the ASF epidemic. It was revealed that there was inadequate awareness of the early symptoms and characteristic signs of ASF among the respondents. As such mortality of about 95 percent was recorded The Chi square analysis showed no significant relationship between farmers' level of awareness of ASF and the location of their pig farms. There was also no significant relationship between pig stock population and farmers ' contact with Extension agents. The study then concluded that extension services to pig farmers are currently inadequate. It therefore recommends that it be developed to ensure institutional support in cases of epidemic disease outbreaks. More so, possible ways should be sought to ensure a steady flow of agricultural information from the research institutes and universities to the ultimate users. Preventive measures should however be taught to farmers to avoid the incidence of future disease outbreaks. Lastly, pig farmers are also advised to form associations that could serve as a pressure group in such cases of sector specific emergencies.
Keywords: Perception, epidemic disease, African swine fever