US$2 million grant to control animal diseases in South Asia

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Publish time: 14th October, 2014      Source: www.efeedlink.com
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October 14, 2014

   

   

US$2 million grant to control animal diseases in South Asia

   

   

   

South Asia''s efforts to control the spread of livestock diseases, such as foot and mouth disease (FMD) and the avian flu, will be supported by a US$2 million grant, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has announced.

   

   

The fund will be provided by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction and administered by the ADB. With the grant, a formal regional cooperation framework for cross-border disease control will be established among member countries of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

   

   

A regional epidemiology centre is also expected to be set up in Kathmandu, Nepal, to keep track of regional and national animal health issues, along with a coordination unit which will have the support of laboratories in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.

   

   

In addition, a web-based regional information system will be developed to provide regular animal health reports. Public and private sector agencies will also be receiving support to expand their expertise in disease diagnosis, surveillance, reporting and investigation of disease outbreaks.

   

   

According to Rezaul Khan, senior natural resources and agriculture economist in ADB''s South Asia Department, livestockserves as a vital source of food and income, and the "farmers'' only insurance against things like crop failure and medical expenses."

   

   

"Stronger regional measures to monitor, prevent, and control disease outbreaks will help lift rural earnings, boost food security, and make it safer to trade livestock and livestock products across borders," Khan added.

   

   

Livestock accounts for close to a third of South Asia''s agricultural gross domestic product. With expanding and increasingly prosperous populations, the region will need an additional four million tonnes of meat and 65 million tonnes of milk annually by 2020.

   

   

However, the rapid spread of livestock diseases continued to challenge South Asia''s meat trade in recent years, with concerns that these could be transmitted from animal to human.

   

   

India, for example, had suffered a yearly loss of an estimated US$4.5 billion in livestock deaths due to FMD, while Bangladesh incurred over US$500 million of poultry losses due to the avian flu since 2007.

   

   

ADB hopes that the latest financial aid will be able to boost efforts in reducing disease occurences by about 30% in heavily affected areas by 2018.