|Raising livestock to VietGAP standards is the solution to prevent pig diseases, especially African swine fever, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phùng Đức Tiến tells a conference in Bến Tre Province on September 6. — VNS Photo
HCM CITY – The animal husbandry sector must improve the quality and safety of the environment in which livestock is raised to achieve sustainable development, experts told a conference in Bến Tre Province on Friday.
The adoption of VietGAP techniques and standards is one of the optimal solutions for the development of the sector, they said.
Diseases have been a major threat to livestock in recent times.
Phạm Văn Đông, director of the Department of Animal Health, said there had been epidemics of foot-and-mouth disease, African swine fever (ASF), blue ear disease in pigs, and bird flu.
Since February ASF had broken out in more than 7,000 communes in 63 provinces and cities requiring the culling of more than 4.7 million pigs weighing 270,000 tonnes, or 7 per cent of all pork produced in the country, he said.
Poultry farming had been in similar trouble. So far this year there had been 16 outbreaks of bird flu in 13 provinces and cities, requiring 29,000 birds to be destroyed, he said.
Diseases have a great socio-economic impact since when an epidemic occurs, farmers face difficulties, according to Đông.
Many experts said embracing VietGAP was the best way to ensure the sustainability of the pork and poultry industries.
Đông said it was the number one weapon for disease prevention and control.
"In localities where training in VietGAP livestock techniques and standards is provided, diseases are prevented," he said.
Nguyễn Văn Trọng, deputy head of the Department of Livestock Production, said through the application of VietGAP standards, farmers had improved their animal husbandry and farm management and know how to prevent diseases and ensure food safety.
He said his department would carry out the plans for sustainable development of the pork and poultry industries.
It would clearly define the characteristics and competitive advantages each region has in pig farming to adjust resources for production, gradually build a production value chain and increase value addition in pork products. – VNS