AGA IN ACTION
Towards environmentally sustainable livestock waste management in east Asia
A report summarizing the experience of a livestock waste management in three countries with South China Sea coastlines – China (Guangdong Province), Thailand and Viet Nam – jointly conducted by FAO and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has just been released (click here for copy of the Experience Note). The report is the outcome of consultations among project partners following a final regional coordination meeting held in Bangkok, Thailand, at the end of June.
The Bangkok conference brought together project teams and a limited number of participants from countries in the region that had not participated in the project to share views on project implementation, key achievements, experience learnt and replicability.
At the turn of the 21st century, China, Thailand and Viet Nam alone accounted for more than half the pigs and one-third of the chickens throughout the world and the concentration of pig and poultry production in the coastal areas of these three countries is emerging as a major source of nutrient pollution of the South China Sea.
Along much of the densely populated coast, pig density often exceeds 100 animals per square kilometre and agricultural lands are overloaded with huge nutrient surpluses. Run-off is severely degrading seawater and sediment quality in one of the world’s most biologically diverse shallow water marine areas, causing “red tides” and threatening fragile coastal, marine habitats including mangroves, coral reefs and sea grasses.
While the typologies of livestock operations differ markedly among the countries, the issue of waste management is common to all three, and because all three share a coastline with the South China Sea, the FAO-GEF project developed a set of common activities, and built in the possibilities for eventual synergies and cost savings in the common development of tools and methods to address the waste management issue.
The project, which represents the first time the issue of livestock waste management has been addressed from both a policy and technical standpoint, and within an approach focused on regional collaboration, stressed the need for inter-agency cooperation to develop effective and realistic regulations on environmental protection and discharge standards and to undertake spatial planning for the location of future livestock development to create the conditions for better recycling of effluents.
As a key tool for shaping and implementing policy at the local level, the project developed detailed templates for three different Codes of Conduct, each tailored to address specific farming practices and environmental challenges that are representative of most pig production in the region.
The results of the project, which was designed with replicability in mind, are relevant to other pig production areas in tropical environments: Southeast Asia (e.g. Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Chinese provinces other than Guangdong); Latin America (Brazil, and Mexico); and the Pacific Islands.