FAO in Indonesia

Survey result: Antibiotic use to prevent disease on chicken farms is still high

Farm worker is collecting eggs. By applying good biosecurity practices, the antibiotic usage on farms can reduce significantly

Bandung. The campaign on prudent and responsible antimicrobial usage (AMU) continues in Indonesia to reduce the threat of ten million human deaths globally by 2050 due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) caused by careless use of antimicrobials. One of the ways of bringing the AMR message to poultry farmers is through stakeholder meetings in high-density poultry production areas such as South Sulawesi and West Java.

In March 2018 the FAO Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD), in collaboration with the Directorate General of Livestock and Animal Health Services (DGLAHS), Ministry of Agriculture disseminated the results of an AMU survey conducted on broiler farms in West Java to farmers, poultry associations and staff of Bandung Animal Health Services. The meeting was attended by regional poultry stakeholders including local animal health and livestock staff, professional associations (Indonesian Poultry Veterinarians’ Association -PDHI), and representatives of poultry integrators and pharmaceutical companies (ASOHI).

"This information dissemination needs to be done continuously, because the use of antimicrobials and growth promoters in the livestock sector is still high," said Erna Rahmawati Fitriastuti DVM, from the Sub-Directorate of Animal Drug Control, Directorate of Animal Health, DGLAHS.

In addition, the use of antibiotics for prevention (prophylaxis) of poultry diseases is also high with 80% of surveyed farmers reporting regular antibiotic use to prevent disease and boost production, according to the antimicrobial use survey in nine districts of three provinces (West Java, East Java and South Sulawesi), performed by DGLAHS with FAO ECTAD.

Although this was a limited survey on broiler chicken farms performed in November 2017, it illustrates the high use of antimicrobials in broiler production in Indonesia; further studies will be conducted by the DGLAHS. “The antibiotics used for prophylaxis of poultry diseases include those considered of critical importance for humans, “says Erna.

Careless antibiotic use in livestock may cause residues in poultry products, and thus may impact the health of humans consuming those products in addition to contributing to AMR. Dr Andriyanto, Pharmacology Department, Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB) said that studies to look for alternatives to antimicrobial growth promotors (AGP) using herbs such as ginger, turmeric, and basil are ongoing. He also stated, "AMR is developing faster than the development of new antibiotics." Penicillin was discovered in the early 1940’s while resistance against penicillin was found five years afterwards.

 The supervision and control of antibiotic use needs to be improved as currently antibiotic residues are not only found in chicken meat and eggs, but as environmental contaminants. A study from the Environmental Engineering Department, Bandung Technological Institute (ITB), detected antibiotics in the Citarum River; these antibiotics were suspected of being used on nearby poultry farms.  

Regarding this finding, the West Java Provincial Office of Food Safety and Livestock Services stated that chicken farms along the Citarum River were not directly found disposing their waste into the river. Erna says, "I’m quite surprised and worried by the ITB findings.

The Ministry of Agriculture would like to thank ITB for this study, which will be an invaluable input to understanding AMU and environmental contamination in Indonesia". She hoped that in the future [we] will not find antibiotic contamination of rivers and that the ban on AGP use in chicken farms will contribute to reducing AMR