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New Zealand Gives Boost to Foot-and-Mouth Disease Control

The New Zealand Aid Programme, through the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has provided US$3.1 million to the Lao government to carry out a foot and mouth disease control programme.

The Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) control programme, called the “OIE-DLF FMD Control project” was launched in Vientiane yesterday by Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr Lien Thikeo, New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Murray McCully, New Zealand Ambassador to Laos Ben King, and President of the OIE Sub-Commission for the Control of FMD in South-East Asia and China, Dr Gardner Murray.

Also present on the occasion were other officials from Laos and New Zealand.

The project will be co-managed by the Department of Livestock and Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the World Organisation for Animal Health (also known as the Office International des Epizooties-OIE).

The project will be rolled out in Savannakhet, Champassak and XiengKhuang provinces over the next four years from March this year to May 2020.

Some 60,000 farming households in the project area are expected to benefit by increasing their livestock herds through the prevention of losses from FMD outbreaks and improved market access.

The project will enable farmers to improve their livelihoods, safeguard their food security, and contribute to economic growth, Dr Lien said.

This project is very important to enhancing Laos’ efforts to control FMD as part of the National Foot and Mouth Disease Control Plan for 2015-2018.

It will also support the regional roadmap of the SEACFMD programme with the goal of achieving FMD freedom in South-East Asia by 2020, he added.

Foot and mouth disease is one of the main trade barriers for Laos when it comes to exporting live animals and animal products to neighbouring countries.

Critical to facilitating the development of this regional trade is the control and eventual eradication of FMD in the region.

Meanwhile aligning disease control with the OIE Progressive Control Pathway Strategy is encouraged and the development of a National FMD Control plan is an important initiative.

The livestock sector will play an important role in supporting the government’s strategic goals in both poverty reduction and food security, Dr Lien noted.

The sustainability of livestock development can be achieved and maintained through an ongoing disease control programme, along with research for extension and development activities.

In the past, Laos has been at the forefront of and will continue to contribute towards the long term goal of SEACFMD in the development of an FMD free zone with associated vaccination programmes in the Upper Mekong Sub-region.

Other activities under the project involve the management of animal movement, education about FMD dangers, and publicising the rules and principles on livestock and other relevant regulations.

This is one of the major new agricultural initiatives with Asean, which was declared by New Zealand’s Prime Minister during the 40th Asean-New Zealand anniversary relationship celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, last year.

One of the four main objectives under New Zealand’s agricultural development support plan is to expand knowledge and experience in agriculture through the country’s own accumulated technical expertise and experience.

Source: Vientiane Times