ASEAN livestock sector plan of action in finalization
ASEAN member countries, in collaboration with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), are finalizing an ASEAN strategic plan of action for its livestock sector 2016 – 2020.
“Livestock development is one of the top priorities for FAO as the sector is growing rapidly to meet the demand for livestock products,” said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative. “We anticipate that in 10 years the majority of ASEAN countries will graduate to Middle Income Status and this will mean that demand for meat, milk and eggs will also rapidly increase. We anticipate the demand will grow 40 percent by 2025.”
“Towards the integration of ASEAN economies, ASEAN would require to harmonize intra and extra-ASEAN trade policies and regulatory frameworks for the livestock sector,” he added.
Konuma noted there are many challenges along the way, particularly the effects of climate change on livestock production.
“We are facing an increased threat of climate change and natural disasters and we need to consider how that will affect food production,” Konuma said. “Most recent predictions are that after 2030 climate change would likely start to seriously affect our production and though we don’t know by how much, in the worst case, the most critical predictions are that agricultural land may decrease 30 – 40 percent by 2080.”
“If this happens there will be big damage to the agriculture sector as a whole so we need to prepare adaptive policies and measures,” Konuma added.
“We also need to respond to emerging strains of animal diseases such as the possible return of avian flu and recurrences of foot and mouth diseases,” Konuma said, adding that “small holder farmers are worst affected because losing livestock to disease means not only affecting their income but it also results in losing a household asset.”
Konuma reaffirmed that FAO was very much prepared to support ASEAN countries in promoting its livestock sector, not just to deal with increasing demand, but to help the sector contribute to improved nutritional status of their people, and income and employment generation of small households by linking them to value chains and markets.