FAO in Myanmar

Safer Animal Trade between Myanmar and China and South-South Cooperation

The LBVD Director General, Dr Ye Tun Win, and the ECTAD Regional Manager, Dr Wantanee Kalpravidh, address the Opening Ceremony.

Delegates from Myanmar attended a workshop titled “Stakeholder Workshop for Cross-border Safer Animal Trade” in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China from 11 to 13 September 2016.  It was organized by FAO’s China Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) team and the Veterinary Bureau (VB) of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture (MoA).  The aim was, first, to strengthen the cross-border cooperation to prevent and control animal diseases in the border regions of China, Lao PDR and Myanmar and, second, to facilitate the legal movement and safer trade of live animals, and economic and social development in the border regions.

The event was supported by funds from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  It was a follow-up event to the trilateral meeting between China, Lao PDR and Myanmar, held in Vientiane in June 2016.

Veterinary Department representatives from the three countries attended, that is, the China VB of the MoA and the AQSIQ Phytosanitary Division, the Lao PDR Department of Livestock and Fisheries, and the Myanmar Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department (LBVD).  Chinese private company representatives who trade cattle also attended.  

The Myanmar delegation was led by the LBVD Director General, Dr Ye Tun Win.  The LBVD group also comprised the Administration Division Director, Dr Than Naing Tun, two Quarantine Section Research Officers, Dr Nilar Kyaw and Dr Theint Su Su Htet, and the LBVD Deputy Director from Lashio District, Shan State (North), Dr Zaw Lun Aung.  From FAO Myanmar, there were two ECTAD team members present:  Dr David Hadrill, the Country Team Leader, and Dr Myat Kyaw, the National Programme Manager.

Delegates discussed ways to make trade safer in terms of disease risk.  Discussion focused particularly on trade in cattle from Myanmar to China and from Lao PDR to China, with particular reference to foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).  The Chinese authorities described their vision for disease-free zones near to principal border crossing points.  In these zones, animal identification, inspection and vaccination could be carried out before cattle moved into China for slaughter.

Participants discussed implementing the zoning plans.  The challenges are substantial.  For example, although trade is illegal, it is estimated that over one million head of cattle cross the border from Myanmar into China every year.  Some of these animals transit Myanmar from India or Bangladesh.  Some of the border crossings into China are in areas where insurgency in Myanmar makes Government control difficult.  The Myanmar delegates provisionally agreed that the first zone site could be near the Muse to Ruali border crossing.  The strong profitability of the trade was demonstrated in an analysis by Damian Tago Pacheco, the ECTAD Regional Animal Health Economist, who is based in Bangkok.

The occasion was also an opportunity for the Regional ECTAD Manager, Dr Wantanee Kalpravidh, to lead discussion on South-South Cooperation.  Based on a Memorandum of Understanding between FAO and the MoA, China, it is proposed to initiate a South-South Cooperation project on transboundary animal disease (TAD) control in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMS).  Spread of TADs such as FMD, avian influenza, peste des petits ruminants (PPR) and swine diseases like classical swine fever and porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome (PRRS) may be linked to trade.  It is proposed to focus on these priority diseases and establish a formal collaboration and coordination platform to promote TADs control in the GMS.  Myanmar will be a key partner in these South-South Cooperation initiatives.