ILRI was honoured this week (3 Sep 2018) to host a high-level German delegation including Maria Flachsbarth, parliamentary state secretary to Germany’s federal minister for economic cooperation and development, and Stefan Schmitz, deputy director of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), as well as senior staff of the Kenya Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation, including Andrew Tuimur, chief administrative secretary, and Ann Onyango, agriculture secretary; and representatives from several other CGIAR centres working in Kenya, including Tony Simons, director general of ICRAF, and representatives from the Nairobi-based International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe).
Fritz Schneider, chair of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock (GASL), gave a short overview of livestock and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals at GFFA.
A two-day workshop, 7–8 Sep 2017, on the topic of ‘Improving food safety along the pork value chain—lessons learned and ways forward’. The workshop consisted of two parts: (1) the closing of a project on ‘Reducing disease risks and improving food safety in smallholder pig value chains in Vietnam’, known as PigRISK, and (2) the launching of a project on ‘Market-based approaches to improving the safety of pork in Vietnam’, known as SafePORK
The following policy recommendations build on the main findings of the CFS High Level Panel of Expert’s Jul 2016 report #10, on Sustainable agricultural development for food security and nutrition: What roles for livestock? The sustainable development of agriculture, including livestock, is essential for poverty reduction and the achievement of food security and nutrition.
A report launched this week on managing risks to food safety in Vietnam was prepared by the World Bank and other research and development partners at the request of the Government of Vietnam. The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) was the lead technical partner in development of the report. Food Safety Risk Management in Vietnam: Challenges and opportunities was launched on 27 Mar 2017.
Pork meat sold in Vietnam has been found by researchers to commonly carry bacteria that could cause disease—but they also found that the risk of that meat sickening people is largely reduced due to the Vietnamese habit of buying very fresh meat and cooking it shortly thereafter. The research results indicate ways that the safety of pork meat can be even further improved in this fast-growing and -evolving market. The bottom line is that ensuring safe pork consumption in Vietnam is very important—and very doable.
The experience of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partner scientists in 2015–2016 unmistakably identifies the potential benefits to smallholder farmers and consumers of research into livestock and human health. Smallholder farmers could potentially save hundreds of millions of US dollars annually, following breakthroughs in the development of vaccines for contagious bovine pleuropneumonia and Rift Valley fever, the latter posing a serious threat to human as well as animals. However, it was the participation in high-level fora and implementation strategies which are likely to deliver the rapid life changes for smallholder farmers on the ground.