FAO-Pakistan hired SAFOSO AG to assess the feasibility of establishing a FMD free zone with vaccination in Bahawalpur Division through the identification of critical gaps that might prevent its establishment and to identify priority actions required to fulfil this objective. The field mission was implemented in Bahawalpur Division, Punjab, with the support of the local FAO office in the period 25th of February – 8th of March 2023. Field visits in different locations in Bahawalpur Division were organized from the 28th of February and prioritized those areas and locations particularly relevant for the feasibility assessment (i.e., natural-artificial borders of the zone, borders crossing points, different farm types, vaccination sites, local veterinary offices and laboratories etc.). Interviews with local units of competent authorities, farmers and traders were performed on daily basis.
The assessment confirmed an overall positive situation with regards the (decreasing) incidence of FMD outbreaks in Bahawalpur and the availability of a legal framework favorable for implementing the required veterinary functions related to the prevention, and control of FMD. However a number of deficiencies were found. The more critical limitations in this assessment are related to the lack of animal identification and traceability system, of a livestock movement control strategy and of the biosecurity culture in the country that is reflected in the lack of biosecurity measures at farm and market level. Considering the findings and the relevance of the deficiencies found, the establishment of a FMD free zone with vaccination is only possible subject to rectification of identified deficiencies.
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