ISLAMABAD: With assistance from the Government of Japan, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is implementing a project worth around 2.7 million USD for the enhancement of Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) control in Pakistan
The inception workshop for the project was held in Islamabad. Mr. Teppei Nakagawa, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan in Islamabad, Ms. Minà Dowlatchahi, FAO Representative in Pakistan, Mr Fazal Abbas Mekan, Federal Secretary for National Food Security and Research and officials from the Livestock and Dairy Development departments of all provinces including Islamabad Capital Territory attended the event.
Highlighting the importance of this project for the improvement of food security in Pakistan, Ms Minà Dowlatchahi, FAO Representative in Pakistan said “By adopting a participatory and process oriented approach and building on existing knowledge, methods and capacities, this project will raise the status of Pakistan FMD control efforts from Stage 2 to Stage 3 on the FMD-Progressive Control Pathway.
Our work also emphasizes the importance of animal health as part of the One Health agenda, which is crucial for addressing food insecurity, improving nutrition and livelihoods of millions of rural families including landless women who are mostly dependent on livestock.”
FMD is a highly contagious disease of cloven footed animals that threatens food security and the livelihoods of smallholders and prevents livestock sector from achieving its economic potential. Milk production may drop 50 to 70 % and mortality of young calves reaches 10 to 22 %. If these losses are interpolated into livestock population, it results into hundreds of million dollars per annum.
Thanking the government of Japan for the support, Mr Fazal Abbas Mekan, Federal Secretary for National Food Security and Research said he was confident that FAO technical expertise and experience gained in FMD control in the country will contribute significantly towards achieving objectives and goals of the project.
Mr. Teppei Nakagawa, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan in Islamabad said: “This project will significantly improve the surveillance and rapid response mechanism for disease control and prevent disease outbreaks which will support the agriculture sector in Pakistan.”