In September 2021, SAFOSO and FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAO RAP) organized a virtual feedback session to understand how FAO regional training on African swine fever (ASF) detection and emergency response has been applied in Asia. In the last two years, three rounds of the regional trainings were organized covering nine member countries. Five of the countries have been conducting trainings with veterinary staff at provincial and district levels on ASF detection and response. Even in the COVID-19 pandemic, the country teams succeeded in implementing the activity in a strict health protocol mode.
With support from the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency and USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, the session brought together 50+ participants to identify and bridge ASF management gaps. This meeting allowed the country teams to exchange lessons learned from their experience on ASF control, from compensating farmers and animal movement control to backyard farm biosecurity and active surveillance at border areas.
Smallholder farms make up most pig farming in the region, where implementation of biosecurity remains a challenge. Control of animal movements is a challenge because these occur through informal networks that are hard to monitor by the veterinary authorities. Some countries partially compensate farmers for culling, while others rely on awareness-raising among stakeholders to enforce movement controls and biosecurity measures.
As per request by participants of the feedback session, SAFOSO and FAO RAP are preparing tabletop simulation exercise materials on ASF detection and response that country teams can adapt for further use.
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