Promoting the importance of proper biosecurity and vaccination practices to prevent HPAI and increase poultry farm productivity
06 August 2015 - Despite the devastating economic impact of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreaks in Indonesia, many poultry farmers have not taken adequate measures to protect their flocks. Biosecurity, as the first and most important step in the prevention and control of avian influenza, is often perceived as arduous and costly. Thus, on many farms, biosecurity is implemented only during outbreaks and deemed unimportant afterwards.
Working with selected farmers and egg-laying chicken flocks in Central Java since 2010, the FAO ECTAD Indonesia Commercial Poultry Health (CPH) programme has documented valuable information on how biosecurity interventions can be simple and effective, yet inexpensive. FAO CPH advisers conduct field operational research with commercial poultry farmers to identify and test production and disease control interventions to improve poultry health and increase egg production. Combined with proper vaccination, these practices will in turn increase farm productivity.
The findings, recommendations and lessons learned through the CPH programme were presented at the fourth National Poultry Farmers’ Seminar on July 30th, 2015 as part of FAO ECTAD Indonesia participation in the Indolivestock 2015 Expo and Forum, Surabaya. Since 2012 FAO and the Directorate of Animal Health have hosted a poultry farmers seminar during the annual Indolivestock Expo to engage more meaningfully with commercial poultry farmers and to share the lessons learned through the CPH field programme. The seminar affords an opportunity to farmers to engage with FAO advisers, receive independent technical advice and change their farming practices based on the evidence of FAO field trials.
One of the most impacting presentations made by the FAO at the seminar was on the 3-Zone Biosecurity model, which divides a farm into three separated areas according to the associated biosecurity risk; from high disease risk external areas (red zone), to medium risk service areas (yellow zone), to the clean and highly secured access-restricted green zone where the chicken flock is located. Access from the red zone to the yellow zone requires showering and a complete change of clothing and footwear, while further inward access to the green zone requires a second change of footwear to maintain biosecurity standards. Implemented in six commercial chicken layer farms since 2012, this simple yet cost-efficient biosecurity model has rewarded participating farms with positive production and profit outcomes. In front of more than 200 seminar participants, Robby Susanto, a CPH partner-farmer from Solo, testified how he was able to reduce disease occurrence and mortality rates in his farm by implementing 3-Zone Biosecurity.
The topic of vaccination also received a lot of attention from the participants. Through slide presentations and follow-on discussions, FAO recommended that farmers use local HPAI vaccines, well matched to circulating field virus strains, and follow the recommended 3+2 (three times before production and two times during the production period) vaccination schedule.
Using other unconventional and innovative approaches, FAO used its exhibition booths to reach out to a wider audience. In its Warung Nasihat or “Advice Café”, FAO national technical advisers engaged with visitors to discuss poultry health management, promoting especially 3-Zone Biosecurity and 3+2 HPAI Vaccination, while providing them with free tasty local chicken meals.
Hands-on learning about 3-Zone Biosecurity was also made available in FAO’s Fun House model biosecure poultry farm where visitors learned and experienced the procedures of the 3-Zone Biosecurity approach guided by FAO staff dressed in clown costumes. Visitors donned special clothing and yellow footwear on entering the yellow intermediate biosecurity zone and changed again into green footwear when moving to the green high biosecurity zone where they were met by the FAO veterinary doctor to explain and demonstrate safe and effective vaccination of the FAO “chicken”. Combining fun with the delivery of important poultry production and HPAI control information is proving popular and successful in disseminating key messages to farmers. During the three days of the Indolivestock 2015 Expo (29 – 31 July, 2015), 189 visitors toured the Fun House, while as many as 383 visitors were engaged at the Warung Nasihat.