Food Chain Crisis

FCC-EMPRES Information Sheet

This section introduces FCC–EMPRES core activities through successful programs and initiatives that illustrate FAO’s role in supporting member countries to prevent, prepare and respond to transboundary, high impact animal and plant pests and diseases and food safety threats.
A series of information sheets showcases what FAO has introduced and developed, what it has improved and, most of all, what it has achieved in prevention, preparedness, and response to emergencies affecting the food chain.

Rabies is a preventable and fatal viral disease that kills an estimated 59 000 people every year. The virus is transmitted to people and other animals from exposure to the saliva of infected animals through bites and scratches. Most deaths occur in children in poor and rural communities living in Asia and Africa, where awareness about the disease and access to human and dog vaccines is limited. As a result, dog-mediated rabies is still present in over 150 countries, and its true burden is much higher than what is reported as many cases are not recognized or recorded. This underreporting of rabies cases in animals and humans remains the main reason for the lack of reliable data on the number of rabies cases and their impact on communities and society as a whole.

Fusarium Wilt Disease is caused by the soil-borne fungus Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense and is one of the most destructive diseases of banana worldwide. Its new race Tropical Race 4 (Foc TR4) has been causing serious losses in Southeast Asia and severely affecting livelihoods of small producers. It has recently spread to Africa (Mozambique) and some countries of the Middle East. This is raising concerns that it might also spread to the Indian Sub-continent and Latin America.

The livestock sector in Mongolia is the main pillar of the rural economy, contributing to 16 percent of the national GDP and providing livelihoods for 30 percent of its population. However, over the decades, the livestock industry has been confronted by occasional flare-ups of transboundary animal diseases (TADs).

Through their Joint Division, support from FAO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) enabled Mongolia to strengthen capacities in controlling animal diseases, especially transboundary diseases, by boosting research on safe nuclear and nuclear-derived techniques for diagnosis for quicker detection of the disease, training personnel on these techniques, and providing equipment and expert services.

Fall Armyworm is a transboundary insect pest that feeds on more than 80 crop plants, particularly maize when available, and it is able to move 100 km per night. It can cause significant yield losses if not well managed and has a high potential to affect food security.To support farmers and countries in responding to the FAW threat, FAO has taken a lead role in providing technical expertise, policy advice, training, coordination, and communication on FAW management.

The Red Palm Weevil (RPW) is the most destructive pest of palms, causing widespread damage to several palm species in diverse agro-ecosystems worldwide. This information sheet illustrates Mauritania’s pest management success story through an innovative participatory approach. It describes how FAO engaged farmers of Tidjikja to protect their oasis against RPW with inspection for early detection, treatment techniques, trap management and date palm cleaning.

Rinderpest is a highly contagious disease that, throughout history, has resulted in the mortality of hundreds of millions of livestock and has caused significant disruption and damage to agricultural supply chains throughout the world. FAO, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and regional partners implemented the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme, which brought an end to the disease in 2011. Rinderpest is the first animal disease to be eradicated worldwide.

This information sheet focuses on the work that the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) – a global network jointly managed by FAO and WHO – is doing to prevent, prepare, and respond to food safety events and emergencies. INFOSAN contributes to efficient prevention and control of cross-border spread of unsafe food through information sharing among countries in case of food safety emergencies. It also fosters a global community of practice among food safety professionals. The INFOSAN Secretariat’s arm at FAO is located in the FAO Food Safety and Quality Unit, specifically in the Emergency Prevention System (EMPRES) – Food Safety programme.

The information sheet describes The information sheet describes the results achieved by the ‘Programme to improve national and regional locust management in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)’ established in 2011. The Programme is based on the key concepts of the locust preventive control strategy consisting of monitoring locust habitats. Early to detection of changes in number, density, behaviour and appearance within the locust populations leads to reduced damage on crops and rangelands, reduced negative impact on human health and environment due to less use of chemicals and reduced cost.

The information sheet also describes the way forward to the Programme, based on a common vision, objectives, expected results and envisaged activities for the coming five years. 

Chestnut (Castanea species) are trees providing crucial resources for livelihoods in many parts of the world, with a wide range of economic, social and environmental benefits. The Asian chestnut gall wasp (ACGW) Dryocosmus kuriphilus Yasumatsu (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) is considered to be one of the most harmful insect pests of chestnut varieties in the world and can cause serious damage. However, protecting forest health from ACGW is possible using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles including classical biological control methods.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is an emerging threat for public health globally and can be a cause of severe respiratory infection in humans, especially those suffering other ailments. Dromedary camels are thought to be a natural reservoir of MERS-CoV and can be a source of infection for humans. MERS-CoV is transmitted from person to person through close contact, especially in healthcare settings. However, there is currently no evidence of sustained person-to-person spread.

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