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Experts meet in Nay Pyi Taw to discuss sustainability challenges in Asian Livestock Sector

17/11/2017

Livestock is central to some of the major challenges the world faces today and how we deal with these challenges will have significant implications on the wellbeing of future generations. The demand for livestock products is growing rapidly and this trend is expected to continue in the foreseeable future. The development of the sector is increasingly important to meet the needs of growing population, however it also brings many challenges related to pressure on the natural resources, the biophysical environment, and contribution to climate change through increased GHG emissions.

In order to strengthen regional work in the livestock sector an event “Towards a More Sustainable Asian Livestock Sector” was organized in Nay Pyi Taw from 6 to 10 November 2017. A range of partners, among which, the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department, FAO Headquarters, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, FAO Myanmar, the Animal Production and Health Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the Myanmar Livestock Federation, Myanmar Dairy Association, Dairy Farming Promotion Organization of Thailand, Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and World Bank, contributed to the organization of the meeting.

The Animal Production and Health Commission for Asia and the Pacific is a long standing advisory body to the FAO composed of the relevant governmental departments in the region. During their 40th assembly in Nay Pyi Taw hosted by the current chair of the commission, Ye Tun Win, Director General of the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department of Myanmar, the delegates discussed the work plan for the upcoming year.

Taking advantage of this regional gathering of delegates from livestock ministries, three programmes were developed alongside the meeting: A workshop on Climate Smart Livestock conducted by FAO, a multi-stakeholder meeting of Dairy Asia, a regional platform of partners working towards sustainable dairy development in the region and a  training on Investing in Sustainable Livestock implemented by IFAD and World Bank. 

The event was opened by H.E. U Aung Thu, Union Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MoALI).

 “The objectives of three parallel meetings are perfectly with our Ministry’s vision, which is to provide an inclusive, competitive, food and nutrition secured, and sustainable agricultural system to contribute the socio-economic well-being of farmers and rural people and further development of the national economy,” said H.E. U Aung Thu, Union Minister, MoALI.

In the opening remarks Ms Xiaojie Fan, FAO Representative in Myanmar highlighted the importance of the sector for food security.

“It has been shown in many parts of the world, including in Asia, that the livestock development can play an important role in improving food security and livelihoods. Where there is the potential to make smallholders competitive, we need to support them with the policy and institutional support, capacity building, technological innovation and investment. Even in areas where there may not be much development potential, we need to recognize and protect the safety-net role played by livestock and provide appropriate policy and institutional support,” said Ms Xiaojie Fan, FAO Representative in Myanmar.

Attended by over 130 participants, including senior experts from FAO, the meetings provided opportunities to learn more on the particular livestock topics and engage in interactive learning sessions including group discussions on the progresses made, experiences and needs in the countries, poster presentations of success stories of innovative practices and approaches and a large exhibition area on recent developments and activities in the region. On the last day participants were invited to join a field trip visiting three differently operating dairy farms to gain insights into the dairy sector in Myanmar including sustainability challenges and good practices.