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.

Accidental or malicious releases of radioactive material have the potential to threaten health and disrupt life. Experience has shown that communities, agricultural production and food trade can be affected by major accidents. Such events may have international or even global consequences, therefore, it is important to prepare and make arrangements for dealing with them. The the Joint FAO/IAEA Division serves as the focal point for cooperation by channelling information, supporting efforts and providing its services.

The FAO Commission for controlling the Desert Locust in the Western Region (CLCPRO) strengthens national capacities of locust-affected countries in West and Northwest Africa in planning, training, research and effective and timely response to Desert Locust invasions in order to prevent upsurges and plagues. The Commission contributes significantly to food and livelihoods security in northern Africa through its regional approach in preventing serious damage that locusts can inflict on pastures and agricultural production in the concerned member countries.

The ability of diagnostic laboratories to detect and characterize infectious agents, and therefore to support the prevention and management of health threats, is frequently constrained by lack of skilled personnel, accurate and consistent laboratory methods and quick data exchange systems.To address these gaps, FAO, in 2010, developed the Laboratory Mapping Tool (LMT) to aid laboratory assessment, and in particular to assess the functionality and capacities of veterinary laboratories.

TRANSBOUNDARY AQUATIC ANIMAL DISEASES (TAADS) are a primary constraint to sustainable aquaculture production, and have a significant socio-economic and environmental impact in several aquaculture countries and regions of the world. The impact of TAADs are particularly hard-felt by small-scale farmers, who represent the backbone of many rural communities in developing as well as developed countries.

MONITORING, providing EARLY WARNING, and acting promptly to control outbreaks of locust and other migratory pests are crucial to ensure that timely and appropriate action can be taken when an emergency arises. The Desert Locust Information Service (DLIS) at FAO Headquarters continuously monitors global weather, ecological conditions and the locust situation. Geo-referenced data in the field are collected and analysed on a daily basis. This analysis, carried out by the national control locust centres and by FAO DLIS, relies on a range of computer-based software tools which were developed by FAO and several partners for early warning purposes. The handheld device called eLocust is a striking example of these tools. These components constitute the oldest migratory pest monitoring and early warning system in the world.

Outbreaks of transboundary animal and plant pests and diseases, including forest pests and aquatic diseases, food safety and radiation events has been increasing over the past years, impacting people’s access to quality food, and putting their livelihoods and health at risk. To address this challenge, FAO established the Food Chain Crisis Management Framework (FCC), an approach combining prevention, preparedness, and response to emergencies affecting the food chain and caused by transboundary animal and plant pests and diseases (including aquatic and forests pests and diseases), food safety and radiological threats.

RIFT VALLEY FEVER (RVF) is a zoonotic, viral, vector-borne disease representing a threat to human health, animal health and livestock production in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Near East and potentially Europe and the rest of the world.

The impact of the disease on people’s livelihoods (socio-economic) and on trade (restrictions) can be high. Climatic factors are important drivers of RVF viral activity as they drive vector abundance and population dynamics, thus influencing the risk of disease emergence, transmission and spread. A climate-affecting phenomenon such as El Niño can have high impact on RVF.

Transboundary animal diseases (TADs) including zonooses are highly contagious epidemic diseases that can spread extremely rapidly, irrespective of national borders. Controlling infectious diseases of animals, and minimizing their impact on countries’ economies and livelihoods of people is crucial. Veterinary laboratories can play a critical role in the early detection of new or re-emerging animal diseases, as well as in the fight against endemic diseases and in addressing complex issues at the human-animal-environment interface.

Many of the pesticides used in desert locust control pose a risk to the environment and to human health, even if they are used judiciously. To minimize the impact of pesticides use on human health and the environment, member countries of the FAO Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in the Western Region (CLCPRO) established baseline environmental requirements that locust campaigns should comply with.

Surveillance and early warning of animal disease outbreaks, including zoonotic diseases, with potential public health impact enables national authorities to advise at-risk populations. However, early detection and timely reporting of animal diseases from the field are a challenge in developing countries. For this reason, FAO has developed EMA-i (Event Mobile Application) for data collection and to facilitate real-time disease reporting to support veterinary services capacities in disease surveillance implemented in the field.

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