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Welcoming and opening speech (APHCA 02/11)

Honourable En Mohd. Zulkifli Bbdul Rauf

Deputy Secretary-General, Ministry of Agriculture, Malaysia

Dr. Jose Q. Molina, chairperson of APHCA

Dr. Andrew Speedy, representative from FAO-AGA

Dato’ Mohd. Nordin, director-general of DVS, Malaysia

Dato’ Matta Abd. Rahman, chairman of the session organizing committee

Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen

First of all, I would like to convey the apology from Dato’ Abi Musa Asa’ari Mohamed Nor, Secretary-General, Ministry of Agriculture, Malaysia, for not being able to come to this opening session of APHCA this morning.

We are delighted and honoured to host this 61st Executive Committee Meeting and the 26th Session of the Animal Production and Health Commission for Asia and the Pacific (APHCA) today and to welcome you to Malaysia.

I wish to extend a warm welcome to fellow delegates from the various countries. I realize that you are fully dedicated to the sessions that will follow but I do hope you will also take time to enjoy fascinating Malaysia with its tropical setting, friendly people and multi-cultural cuisine.

I recognize that these sessions are principally designed to enhance the development of the livestock industry within the Asian-Pacific Region. These annual gatherings enable the building of a productive dialogue between APHCA and member countries. They also provide an invaluable opportunity for networking and fruitful contacts between countries.

As a founding member of APHCA, Malaysia has an excellent association with APHCA. Over the years, we have been supportive of the policies and projects under APHCA. This is the fourth time that the meeting/session is being held in Malaysia, the last meeting being held in 1991. We are delighted to be given the opportunity to host this meeting again this year. We are pleased that as much as 40 delegates are in attendance - being from the fourteen member countries namely Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran, Lao DPR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. We are also pleased to welcome the twenty experts in livestock production and health, who are present to impart their expertise to the Meeting/Session.

Malaysia is giving strong emphasis on the development of agriculture, including the livestock sector, to increase food production. In fact, agriculture has been declared as the third engine of growth in the country. Of the total GDP for agricultural production (comprising of agriculture, forestry and fisheries), 30 percent is contributed by the livestock sector. Development policies and planning of the agriculture sector are guided by the National Agricultural Policy (NAP) (1992-2010) which aims at “a market-led, commercialized, efficient, competitive and dynamic agricultural sector within the context of sustainable development”. There is a focus on 6 main commodities namely poultry meat, poultry eggs, milk, pork, beef and mutton. For each of these commodities, there are specific targets for production and each has a plan of action.

Speaking about livestock production, I would like to emphasize on the importance Malaysia places on measures to control animal diseases. We are very conscious of the grave threat of animal diseases to the livelihoods of our farming community. In the context of WTO and AFTA, we realize the importance of maintaining a disease-free status, as this is critical, if we wish to tap into foreign markets. The Department of Veterinary Services, thus continues to be committed to rapid and decisive action in keeping the country free of animal diseases. Of the newer measures in controlling diseases, will be the establishment of specific livestock farming zones, so that animal health control measures can be easily regulated and farms closely monitored. At the same time, if there should be a disease outbreak, the Department can easily contain the disease. DVS is endeavoring to improve bio-security on the farm level. Good Animal Husbandry Practice (GAHP) is being promoted by the DVS for the accreditation of livestock production systems on-farm. GAHP procedures will include sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures for controlling animal diseases.

I am pleased to note that APHCA has scheduled a half-day workshop with the theme “Feed Safety, Food Safety” during this meeting. This workshop will also be joined by a group of 20 persons comprising farmers, livestock entrepreneurs, feed millers and food processors. Their presence will contribute first-hand local experience, which would be useful to the forum. Consumers in Asia should expect their food from animal origin to be safe, and it is our duty as legislators to develop a system that delivers this. There is a need for governmental intervention to ensure compliance to feed quality and safety standards. Such programmes have been undertaken by the Department of Veterinary Services over the years which include Quality Assurance Programme (QAP), Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP), Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) as well as proactive monitoring of contaminants in feeds. Our commitment towards modernizing and achieving high feed quality and safety assurance will be seen in the forthcoming institution of a National Feed Act. At the same time, we will have to take steps to ensure that this law is implemented swiftly and applied effectively. For processing food products of animal origin, the use of the Veterinary Health Mark for quality and safety accreditation has been practiced over a number of years. This workshop will be invaluable in contributing to the production of food, which is clean, of high quality and safe for human consumption.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, today’s multifaceted livestock industry and fast changing world calls for a close partnership between countries. Globalization presents many challenges to our Region and as such we should cooperate with the aim of achieving mutual benefits. I hope these sessions will highlight possible avenues for cooperation between countries and also come up with beneficial, cutting-edge resolutions, which can positively impact the livestock industries of member countries.

In closing, I wish to express my gratitude to all delegates and observers for their full cooperation and contribution to the 61st Executive Committee Meeting and 26th Session of APHCA. I take this opportunity to thank the joint organizers FAO-RAP/APHCA and the DVS for organizing this meeting and for providing the necessary funding. I would also like to express my gratitude to the APHCA Secretariat and the DVS Organizing Committee for their diligence. The various sponsors for lunches and dinners are also thanked for their kind hospitality.

I wish the participants a very fruitful and productive Meeting/Session and with that, I declare the 61st Executive Meeting and the 26th Session of the Animal Production and Health Commission for Asia and the Pacific open.

Thank you.

OPENING SPEECH

Dato Dr Mohd. Nordin

Director-General, DVS, Malaysia

Honourable En Mohd Zulkifli Abdul Rauf, deputy secretary-general, ministry of agriculture, Malaysia

Dr. Jose Q. Molina, chairperson of APHCA

Dr. Andrew Speedy, representative of FAO-AGA

Dr. Matta Abd. Rahman, chairman of the organizing committee

Distinguished delegates, observers

Ladies and Gentlemen

Welcome and good morning

First of all I would like to thank En Zulikifli Rauf, Deputy Secretary-General, Ministry of Agriculture for his presence to officiate the meeting.

Looking at the numbers of meetings/sessions. APHCA is quite an old organization/ grouping, before WTO, ASEAN 10, and APEC. In the good old days, APHCA was an active body for dissemination of information, conducting training programs, facilitating the exchange of officers, and organizing study tours. Member countries created national currency funds to cover expenditures for in-country costs. It was novel at the time. Visitors needed to pay for international travel only. I believe that this system is still relevant and should be revived.

Malaysia has established the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) and conducts training programmes for developing countries as an initiative under the “prosper thy neighbour” policy. We believe we have many positive values to share with our partners.

The theme “Veterinary Public Health/Feed and Food Safety” is appropriate and timely. Consumers are concerned about the food they consume, the safety and quality of food. Purchase of products is deemed as supporting and perpetuating certain practices. If we consider that our longevity is related to the quality of the health services in our countries, most of us are therefore health compromised, and sensitive to the food products we consume.

Most governments have responded by creating standards for quality and safety of food, systems of quality assurance and adoption of international practices as means of control. Systems of accreditation based on HACCP and GMP have become standard practices.

DVS, Malaysia is also moving towards this direction. We have a system of accreditation for livestock product processing plants. We have formulated GAHP principles for accreditation of farms. The Animal Feed act has been drafted to ensure the quality of animal feed, thus its contribution to animal product safety.

I wish to thank the FAO Representative and APHCA for their support in the preparation of this meeting. Thanks to members of the Organizing Committee, the staff of Holiday Villa and all those who have contributed their untiring effort in making this APHCA Session and Workshop a success.

OPENING SPEECH

Andrew Speedy

Senior Officer (Feed and Animal Nutrition)

Animal Production and Health Division, FAO Headquarters, Rome

Honourable Deputy Secretary-General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Honourable Director-General of the Department of Veterinary Services, Chairperson of APHCA, distinguished delegates and guests, ladies and gentlemen, colleagues: It is with great pleasure that I speak on behalf of the FAO Animal Production and Health Division.

It is with equal pleasure that I note the attendance of delegates from all the fifteen member countries of APHCA. This shows the importance attached to the Commission by member countries and demonstrates the importance attached by FAO in supporting its activities through our Regular Programme.

Livestock production is thriving in the Asia-Pacific Region with continuing increases in meat, milk and egg production. This is being achieved through intensification in high potential systems and effective rural development in the small farm sector. The recent report by Paul Riethmuller (2002) on Some Issues Associated with the Livestock Industries of the Asia-Pacific Region states that, according to FAO's index of livestock production, the production of livestock products in the Asian and Pacific region increased almost six fold (from 28.7 to 165) between 1961 and 2000. But the author points out that the development of the livestock industries has not occurred without criticism. Concerns have been raised about the environmental implications of the almost unrestrained growth that has been occurring in the industrialized livestock sector.

Furthermore, there have been a number of highly publicized incidents and problems that have raised the issue of the safety of foods of animal origin and caused widespread public concern.

At the Twenty-sixth FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific, held in Kathmandu, Nepal, 13-17 May 2002, attended by government representatives from 25 member countries plus observers, FAO was asked to assist countries in developing the necessary capacity to ensure food safety throughout the production and processing chain. The Conference requested FAO to help countries build capacity for addressing food safety and sanitary and phyto-sanitary regulations of importing countries; and recommended that FAO formulate a plan of action for the livestock sector for supporting, among others, a regional emergency response system to deal with transboundary animal diseases, a regional program for the control of foot-and-mouth disease, a diagnostic information reference system and procedures for harmonising laboratory standards.

Delegates noted that large-scale livestock and aquaculture had often been given preferential treatment in attempts to expand exports and to provide affordable supplies of food for urban consumers. They drew attention to the potential environmental risks associated with large-scale livestock and aquaculture systems, especially those located near urban centres. And the Conference recognised several health risks associated with intensified production and trade of livestock and fish, including transmission of diseases and increased consumption of biological and chemical contaminants.

Over and above the work of the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission, involving the drafting of codes of practice for animal feeding, and for fresh meat and milk, food safety is indeed a major area of work in FAO’s Technical Divisions. In this, we are adopting a risk analysis approach, involving risk assessment, risk management and risk communication along the whole food chain, from farm to fork.

There is particularly a need for capacity building in the area of disease surveillance and diagnosis, and management of the animal feed and meat industries. There is also a need for better risk communication and awareness campaigns, not least to ensure a balanced perspective on the issues.

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) has had a very high profile in the media following the crisis in Europe and the realization that the problem may have been exported to other countries. Reporting is not always fully accurate, nor in proportion to the numerical incidence of BSE compared to other animal and human health problems. I was recently asked by the BBC to explain why the incidence of BSE was still increasing. I replied that it isn’t, and has indeed declined considerably in the countries where it first occurred. However, there have been a few cases identified in other countries outside the EU, notably in Eastern Europe, as well as in Japan and Israel. There are now 26 countries with one or more indigenous cases.

This is not altogether bad news as it shows that surveillance is being carried out and that a few cases, one or two in hundreds of thousands, are being picked up and suitably dealt with.

Nevertheless, it must be recognized that sensible precautions are needed to ensure that the disease never again takes hold and public confidence is restored. FAO is already undertaking Technical Cooperation Projects on the surveillance and prevention of BSE (and other zoonotic diseases) and hopes shortly to undertake a major project with the Government of Switzerland to train key persons from countries in diagnostic techniques in the veterinary profession, and risk management in the feed and meat industries.

We must remember that there are other, more widespread biological hazards such as Salmonella, E.coli, Campylobacter and parasitic diseases. We consider that the BSE ‘crisis’ represents a window of opportunity to gain support for general capacity building and improvements in management of livestock production and the feed and food industry.

We dealt with the important issue of alternative protein sources for the feed industry (in the light of the problem of meat and bone meal) at the Expert Consultation and Workshop held in May 2002 in Bangkok, attended by a number of APHCA members. This meeting was supported by the private sector (International Feed Industry Federation) and this allowed 70 participants from 24 countries to attend.

We hope shortly to sign an agreement with another private sector foundation to produce a manual on Good Practices for the Meat Industry that will enable us to assist with the implementation of Codex codes and standards and provide a working manual, in 5 languages, of value in many countries.

We must not forget that it is important to ensure that the Livestock Revolution also brings benefits to the rural poor and small farmers, especially in this Region. The Regional Conference also requested FAO to provide technical support and organize resources to assist member countries in conducting agriculture and rural sector reviews, including assessment of policy issues and options for food security and poverty reduction. It also urged FAO to provide technical assistance and advice and to strengthen country capacities, in areas related to agri-business development and rural extension.

His Excellency, Mahesh Acharya, welcoming delegates and participants to Kathmandu in May, on behalf of the Government of Nepal, highlighted economic growth, poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability as the most critical inter-related aspects of development. He pointed out that agriculture in most of Asia and the Pacific is characterised by the prevalence of small farmers, landless labourers and resource-poor fisherfolk. Economic growth, therefore, must be pro-poor, broad-based and sustained. His Excellency noted that Asia and the Pacific had made reasonable progress in reducing the number of undernourished in recent years, but that the region still held nearly two-thirds of the undernourished population of the world. He urged developed and developing countries to join efforts in ensuring food security and promoting sustainable development for all.

Translating the projected growth of the livestock and fisheries sectors into genuine and sustained opportunities for the poor was of paramount importance. The Regional Conference urged member countries, with support from FAO and other international organizations, to create favourable institutional and political environments that would enable the poor to share in the benefits from the surge in growth of the livestock and fisheries sectors. The Conference requested FAO to support networks that encourage governments, national and international organizations, civil societies and the corporate sector to review livestock and fisheries policies and strategies viz-a-viz the poor.

In this regard, FAO has recently obtained support from DIFID (UK) for a Pro-Poor Livestock Policy Initiative which has now commenced operation. We are now employing extra staff and organizing regional focal points in the development of this initiative.

Coming to the work of this meeting, we are pleased to have the opportunity to participate in a Regional Workshop on Feed and Food Safety which we hope will develop strategies for effective implementation of good practices in the livestock sector, adapted to the needs of the countries in the Region, as a basis for further technical cooperation and capacity building.

Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) are a way of focusing our technical knowledge into workable guidelines which address the production, environmental, human and animal health, and social issues of food production. We have held consultations on GAPs with the Major Stakeholder Groups of SARD (Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development) and GAPs will be one of the focuses of their presentation at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, next week in Johannesburg. We also hope that GAPs will be discussed by members at the next FAO Committee on Agriculture, COAG.

We must bear in mind that our recommendations must be applicable to all countries and be practical and workable. Everyone, rich and poor, has a right to safe and wholesome food, and food safety is an essential component of food security. We have particular responsibility in the livestock sector.

We hope the meeting will be a success and we thank the Government of Malaysia as hosts and the Organizing Committee for enabling this to take place.

Thank you.

OPENING ADDRESS

J.Q. Molina

APHCA Chairperson

Director, Bureau of Animal Industry, Philippines

Honorable En Mohd Zulkifli Abdul Rauf, Deputy Secretary-General to the Ministry of Agriculture Malaysia

Y. Bhg. Dato’ Dr. Mohd. Nordin Haji Mohd. Nur Director-General, Department of Veterinary Services, Malaysia

Representative of FAO/AGA - Animal Production and Health Division, Rome, Dr. Andrew Speedy

Members of the APHCA Executive Committee

Representatives of the member countries of APHCA

Representatives of observer countries and international agencies, OIE - Dr. T. Fujita, ILRI - Dr. D. Gray and JICA - Dr. M. Sasaki

Representatives of the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand and APHCA Secretariat (Drs. D. Hoffmann, H. Wagner and V. Songkitti)

The Malaysian Organizing Committee headed by Dr. Matta Abd. Rahman

Colleagues and Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning

At the Interim Executive Committee Meeting of APHCA in Bangkok on April, 27-28, 2002, there was a presentation by Dr. Nordin in the successes of APHCA in the past. As I remember the presentation and the subsequent discussions, APHCA’s successes were due to very close contracts, associations and interactions among the member countries made possible by the National Currency Fund. It was agreed that the use of NCF be revitalized and that each member country identifies its technical field of expertise and centers of technical excellence of which support can be provided to recipient APHCA member countries interaction. A related matter is the circulation of the APHCA newsletter “ASIAN LIVESTOCK” which is available in the APHCA Homepage after printing of hard copies ceased in 1996. It was encouraged that member countries assign a national focal point to promote information flows turn the APHCA Secretariat specifically the newsletter ASIAN LIVESTOCK.

A noteworthy achievement after the Manila Session, last year, was the better contributions of member governments. This will result to a bigger APHCA budget for the year 2003 and a more lively programme of activities.

And speaking of APHCA activities, I would like to briefly discuss some of them:

Firstly, the HOPE-A (Householder Poultry Enterprise in Asia) starting as a draft initiative endorsed at the 24th Annual APHCA Meeting in November 2000. A TCP proposal has been submitted to FAO for funding and individual member country project proposals have been prepared for bilateral funding.

For the State of World-Animal Genetic Resources (SoW-AnGR) programme, limited funds have been made available to support country report preparation. Due to some delays in the activities, the deadline for country report delivery has been kept more flexible.

The draft TCP proposal on Animal Identification and Traceability was presented and discussed at the Bangkok Interim Executive Committee Meeting last April wherein the importance and timeliness of the issue was reconfirmed. It was proposed that the ASEAN working group on Livestock be included in the project. What’s needed to be done is to identify the lead institute to undertake the project.

The TCP proposal for the Buffalo Development in the Region has to be finalized and submitted to FAO for consideration.

Some other APHCA activities since the Manila meeting are:

- The joint OIE/FAO-APHCA/FVM-CMU Regional Workshop on WTO’s SPS Agreement was conducted in Chiang Mai in July 8-12, 2002.

- The Second Regional Workshop on Meat Inspection was conducted here in Malaysia also in July 2002. The Third will be organized in September this year.

And as we go through this 26th Session of APHCA and the 61st Executive Committee Meeting, it is my fervent wish that we all work together to make APHCA stronger and more relevant to the promotion of animal production and health in Asia.

On behalf of the Executive Committee, I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the Malaysian Government, particularly the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of the Veterinary Services for graciously hosting the APHCA meetings. And to every body, I wish that we will have a very productive and successful meeting and workshop.

As we say in Philippines - “MABUHAY” to everybody.


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