Living with African Swine Fever: Blueprint for the future

POSTPONED – Living with African Swine Fever – Blueprint for the Future (replacing the Pig Feed Quality Conference in 2020) scheduled to be held in Singapore on 22-23 April is postponed until the impact of coronavirus on travel becomes clearer.

Establishing a blueprint for the future . . .

As Asian pig producers struggle to avoid African Swine Fever and eventually repopulate their farms it is becoming clear that veterinary knowledge alone is not enough to control African Swine Fever. Understanding local sociocultural, economic and political dimensions is equally important.

To help the pig industry navigate through this turmoil, Asian Pork Magazine is organising a conference in Singapore at the Hilton Singapore on 22-23 April 2020 involving 16 experts, 20 presentations and four discussion panels. This event will replace the Pig Feed Quality Conference in 2020.

‘Living with African Swine Fever – Blueprint for the Future’ will update the industry on the latest global technical knowledge and importantly, will examine the ‘hardware’ of biosecurity – the quality of buildings, fences, equipment, roads, gates, etc – and also the ‘software’ of biosecurity – the mindset of procedures relating to human activities, hygiene regime, education of personnel, and the development of biosecurity and related farming protocols to suit specific condition.

For example, a pig farm with excellent biosecurity hardware (proper buildings, fences, hygiene barriers, personal equipment for visitors) can still become ASF-infected if people do not follow the stipulated procedures, and vice versa.

“The major challenge in achieving control of ASF is now not necessarily technical but relates to the specific needs and circumstances of pig producers, traders, pork consumers, landowners, hunters and other forest users in affected areas. Control options fully adapted to the local context and highly accepted by the end users are required. Thus, it becomes crucial to include social science when planning prevention, control, or eradication measures. By considering only the biological particularities of the disease: contagiousity, tenacity and case fatality rate, but ignoring the human aspects, the epidemic will not be controlled,” claim Erika Chenais, Klaus Depner, Vittorio Guberti, Klaas Dietze, Arvo Viltrop & Karl Ståhl in Porcine Health Management.

‘Living with African Swine Fever – Blueprint for the Future’ will bring together a team of unequalled experts led by three people at the very forefront of the struggle to control ASF and establish the supply of pork in the region: Klaus Depner, Juergen Richt and Khampee Kortheerakul.

Rex Holyoake, Conference Director (



Klaus Depner
Head of the International Animal Health Team, Institute of Epidemiology, Friedrich-Loeffler Institut, Germany
After graduating in Veterinary Science at the School of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Dr Depner spent four years in Namibia including as head of the virology laboratory at the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Windhoek where he first came in contact with African Swine Fever.
On returning to Germany he worked as a senior scientist at the European Reference Laboratory for Classical Swine Fever, which was part of the Institute of Virology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover.
In 1998 he became head of the German National Reference Laboratory for CSF and ASF at the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI). The FLI is the German federal research institute for animal diseases dealing with basic and applied research and epidemiology as well as housing all reference laboratories for notifiable diseases.
In 2007 on secondment to the FAO, he was involved in the first epidemiological investigations for ASF in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan as the disease entered Europe.
From 2008 until 2010 he was a legislative officer in the area of animal health and zootechnics in Brussels at the European Commission (DG-SANCO) assuming responsibility for notifiable pig diseases.
In 2010 he returned to the FLI as a member and later the head of the International Animal Health Team within the Institute of Epidemiology.
In recent years he has conducted field investigations for ASF in the affected countries within and outside EU and participated at EU level in the development of ASF control and eradication programs.

Juergen A. Richt
Regents Distinguished Professor, Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology; Director, US Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases, Kansas State University, USA
Dr Richt came to Kansas State University in 2008 as The Regents Distinguished Professor and Kansas Bioscience Eminent Scholar. In 2010, he became Director of the Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases.
He received his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Munich and PhD in Virology and Immunology from the University of Giessen, both in Germany.
After coming to the United States in 1989, he studied at The Johns Hopkins University and later served as a Veterinary Medical Officer at the National Animal Disease Center (USDA) in Ames, Iowa.
Dr Richt is a pioneer in veterinary science, most notably in the ‘One Health’ field. His work on high consequence pathogens with zoonotic and transboundary potential led to strategies to identify, control and/or eradicate such agents. His basic and applied research includes studies on animal influenza viruses, animal prion diseases including bovine spongiform encephalopathy, Rift Valley Fever virus, African Swine fever virus, Vesicular Stomatitis Virus), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus and Borna Disease virus.
Dr Richt established the first reverse genetics system for swine influenza virus (SIV) and made seminal contributions to the development of modified live SIV vaccines and to understanding the virulence of the reconstructed 1918 ‘Spanish Flu’ virus in livestock.
For African Swine Fever, he is developing subunit and modified live virus vaccine candidates to protect swine from this devastating disease.

Khampee Kortheerakul
Independent swine veterinary consultant, Thailand
Upon graduating with a degree in veterinary medicine from Chulalongkorn University in 1980 Dr Khampee worked at Chulalongkorn for ten years as instructor-researcher in the area of swine medicine and clinical practice for fifth and final year veterinary students. He was appointed Assistant Professor in Veterinary Medicine in 1986 and in Swine Expertise in 1987.
In 1998 he joined Novartis Animal Health as Regional Swine Expert covering Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and China. During this period, he conducted field trials to test products and researched emerging diseases in the region.
Since 2004 Dr Khampee has worked as an independent veterinary and production consultant covering Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines and China.
Recent publications have included: Evidence of PCV2, PRRSV and CSFV in suckling and nursery pigs from farms with PMWS; The outbreak of HP-PRRS in Thailand 2010 from small holders to farming system; and Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus.
He has lectured at Chulalongkorn, Sukhothaithammathirach, Konkaen, Chengmei, Mahidol, and Mahasarakarm universities.

Register your interest in ‘Living with African Swine Fever’ by emailing or

Click here for registration rates and registration form.

Click here to book a room at Hilton Singapore

Click here for the alternative hotels in Singapore

In view of the dire circumstances facing the Asian pig industry we have decided to forego our annual swine nutrition conference in 2020 and instead hold a conference to help the Asian pork industry to rebuild in the environment of ASF (or for that matter any other disease that may present in the future).

2019 Pig Feed Quality Conference a marked success

Amid an environment made uncertain by the African Swine Fever (ASF) epidemic plaguing China, Vietnam and Cambodia, the 2019 Asian Agribiz Pig Feed Quality Conference successfully hosted 180 pig industry stakeholders from Asia and beyond for two days of strong presentations and discussions.

The event, held on April 24-25 at Bangkok’s Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park, kicked off with a presentation on ASF from Alan Dawson, Business Segment Head for Swine (Southeast Asia and South Korea) at Boehringer Ingelheim.

He noted that with a vaccine against the virus at least eight years away, the best way to protect a farm is to ensure it has effective biosecurity protocols in place. He also underscored the importance of reaching out and partnering not only with customers but other suppliers in the market, noting that all industry members are “in it together.”

Limited antibiotic use

The conference’s first session focused on managing disease and nutrition-with or without AGPs. Swine nutrition specialist Megan Edwards offered participants strategies to address the challenges faced by pig producers in the tropics.

She noted that while the use of AGPs is on the way out, antibiotics will continue to have a role in maintaining health and welfare of pigs. The key is to be responsible in their use so that antibiotics will remain effective for livestock and humans.

Other session speakers agree that without AGPs, pig producers must implement a holistic program for which, the end goal is to ensure and maintain the pig’s gut, its biggest immune organ, that involves biosecurity, management and nutritional tools.

Consumers call the shots

Rounding off the first day was David Hughes, Emeritus Professor of Food Marketing at Imperial College London, who noted that one of the current consumer trends in food is the growing demand for more ready-to-cook or ready-to-eat meals. He said the market is increasingly being driven by younger consumers, who are asking not only for safe and high quality food, but for those that are produced sustainably and with animal welfare in mind.

This was echoed in part by Daryl D’Souza, Executive General Manager of SunPork Solutions, who said pork quality would be defined with a focus on and determined by consumer preference. A successful premium pork product must have the attributes that are called for by target customers and must have a marketing strategy that clearly translates these attributes at point of sale.

Boosting piglet health

One of the most stressful stage in a pig’s life is weaning. It is important to help the piglet go through the weaning period successfully for it to perform well in later stages, and to do it without AGPs.

Piglets are now weaned at between 16-28 days of age, when they are still physiologically and immunologically immature. Session speakers presented various strategies to help the piglet develop a healthy gut.

Julian Wiseman, Professor of Animal Production at the University of Nottingham, underscored the importance of having a holistic concept of gut health, noting that feeds and additives should be selected to favor conditions in the gut that create and stabilize the balance between the host, the microflora and the environment.

Satisfied participants

Overall, delegates expressed satisfaction with the latest edition of the Pig Feed Quality Conference, and expressed interest to join future conferences.
Panel discussions that concluded each session allowed participants to direct additional questions to the speakers. Further encounter and networking with speakers and colleagues from other countries happened during the coffee breaks and the ‘Meet the Speakers’ cocktail party at the end of Day 1.
Helping to lighten things up was the draw for dinner-for-two at the hotel’s Goji Restaurant, won by Vuong Nguyen Minh Thu from Vietnam and Antonio Furiscal from the Philippines.
At the end of the conference, Huan Jet Lee, a nutritionist from Masan Nutri-Science of Vietnam, won a raffled book ‘Achieving Sustainable Production of Pig Meat Volume 3: Animal Health and Welfare’, edited by Dr Wiseman and published by Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing Ltd.
This year’s conference, originally scheduled to be held in Ho Chi Minh City, was moved to Bangkok in light of the ASF outbreak in Vietnam. It was sponsored by AB Vista, Addiseo, Animine, APC, Aveve, DSM, EW Nutrition and Phileo.

In 2020 the Pig Feed Quality Conference will be replaced by the ‘Living with African Swine Fever’ conference in Singapore on 22-23 April 2020.  Mark your calendars now.

Panel discussions delved into delegate questions after every session.

Delegates’ thoughts

“This is the fourth conference I’ve attended and it is the best so far. I gained detailed and updated information on nutrition, which will help me in improving pig health and pork meat quality. It gave me a holistic approach to animal nutrition, and will help me decide on what nutrition support I can give to customers.” – Nguyen Van Tam, Technology Application Manager, Cargill Vietnam Ltd, Vietnam

“The conference was a good opportunity for me to widen my network and meet professional stakeholders in the industry. I got updated with the latest situation in the regional and international markets. Sound technical information is important to make proper decisions in pig farming. I plan to keep attending the conference in the future.” – Trieu Nguyen, Business Development Manager, Nor-Feed SRS, Vietnam

“I’ve attended Asian Agribiz’ feed conferences several times and have always found them very helpful. I am looking forward to attending future conferences and hearing more detailed information and discussions about developments in pig nutrition and production.” – Amie Galban, Nutrition Consultant, Philippines

“This is my first time at the conference, and I found it very informative and relevant, especially the trends that the industry and the market in Asia will be going through in coming years. What is important is that we see the direction from major companies like food safety and others taken into consideration.” – Art Roxas, President, Ariela Marketing Co Inc, Philippines.

I participate in the Pig Feed Quality Conference every year because of new themes and topics. This year’s theme focusing on the ban on antibiotics is very interesting. Learning about new additives will be beneficial to my work as part of the nutritional team as we are working to develop high quality feed products – Chananchida Sangngamruang, Technician and Nutritional Team Member, Krung Thai Foods

It is unfortunate that I missed the first day of the conference. However, the morning session of the second day on the topic ‘Impacting meat quality through nutrition’ is interesting and will be beneficial to my work. – Thipwadee Pooldech, Nutritionist (Swine and Poultry), Betagro Group

Even people from sales can benefit from this conference. I got to know more about our clients and the industry. As a supplier, many of our target audience are here so we will be able to learn what kind of feed and meat quality they would like to produce and introduce to the consumer market. We also can think about any related marketing activities for our clients. However, time is of essence here. Next time, I will be attending the networking session so that I will have more opportunity to talk with several other potential clients. – Kittiyot Kongsawat, Industry Sales Manager, Foss South East Asia

“I always attend the broiler and layer conferences but this is the first time I attended the Pig Feed Quality Conference. I found it interesting and important because now I am responsible for both poultry and swine feed for our company. I found especially the piglet nutrition important because of the importance of this stage in the life of the pig. I would like to attend this conference every year.” – Artiningsih, Poultry and Swine Specialist, P.T. Fenanza Putra Perkasa

“This is the first time I attended the Pig Feed Quality Conference. I thought it very informative and it was good to learn about the developments in pig nutrition. I found the session on meat quality interesting because it can help me teach producers about the different factors that affect it, not just nutrition so they won’t blame the feeds all the time.” – Sahera Nofyantri, Country Nutritionist Manager, P.T. Gold Coin Indonesia

“It is my first time to attend the Pig Feed Quality Conference and it really benefits my work. The nutritional levels and types of organic and inorganic feed that could affect saturated and non-saturated fat level in the pork products were among the interesting information I could bring back home to develop the right pork products for our consumers.” – Yu Insan, Research and Development Director, Hope Livestock Co Ltd, South Korea

David Faulkner hands over the gift certificate to Antonio Furiscal of the Philippines.

Vuong Nguyen Minh Thu of Vietnam receives her gift certificate from Artiningsih of P.T. Fenanza Putra Perkasa.

Huan Jet Lee shakes hand with Julian Wiseman as he receives the book ‘Achieving Sustainable Production of Pig Meat Volume 3: Animal Health and Welfare’.