Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Philippines – Environmental animal health for improved smallholder livestock production

the Philippines, 19 Sep 2005 -- On 4 August 2005 the secretary of the department of agriculture, Domingo F. Panganiban, and FAO’s representative in the Philippine, Ramesh C.A. Jam, signed an agreement in Manila – Environmental animal health to redress emerging insect-borne disease constraints to smallholders’ livestock production – funded by the Italian government amounting to P56.0 million. This project aims to strengthen the capacity of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and other concerned government agencies for the promotion of sustainable agricultural and rural development through environmental animal health management for enhanced smallholder livestock production in the country.

A project management and coordination unit will be established in BAI to foster collaborative environmental animal health management networking with the Philippine Carabao Centre, the National Dairy Authority, local government units and other organizations concerned with livestock development, animal disease control policy, veterinary public health issues (including zoonoses), planning and implementation.

A geographic information system will be strengthened as well as the capacity to manage the system and expand its use as a decision support tool. Detailed analysis will be undertaken, resulting in improved understanding of the environmental determinants of disease distribution and spread. A series of environmental animal health management strategies for smallholder livestock production will be formulated and promoted for funding and subsequent implementation in the future.

Livestock production is an important and growing sub-sector of Philippine agriculture. Livestock raising is a main activity in rural areas and for a large proportion of small farmers livestock production is a primary source of income.

Environmental animal health management (EAHM) relates to those aspects of animal health and welfare that are determined by chemical, physical, biological and behavioural factors in the natural and social environment of animal production. It also refers to the theory and practice of assessing, correcting, controlling and preventing those factors in the natural and social environment of animals that may have adverse effects on the health of animal and/or human populations.
EAHM is promoted by FAO in the framework of sustainable agricultural and rural development. This new discipline seeks to assess and understand animal diseases in their environmental and production/farming system context in which they occur. With relatively minor changes in animal husbandry practices and modification of the production environment, substantial benefits can accrue to animal and human health, and the wider environment. EAHM helps to identify cost-effective means of disease management aimed particularly at smallholder livestock producers with limited access to veterinary services. EAHM builds on the successes and extensive application of Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

At the end of the project, it is expected that the environmental determinants of disease emergence and spread are made clear and that the infrastructural requirements and capability in national and sub-national staff are strengthened. More specifically, staff capacity in EAHM and related skills in geographical and disease risk analysis will be enhanced at three key livestock agencies: the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), Philippine Carabao Center (PC) and National Dairy Authority (NDA), as well as selected LGUs.