Phùng Đức Tiến.— Photo vietnamnet.vn
Phùng Đức Tiến, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, talks to the Financial Magazine about the ministry's decision to fight African swine fever and avian influenza
What’s the current status of the campaign of epidemic prevention activities in Việt Nam?
Avian influenza has been reported in five localities in the Vietnamese territory with 16 hotspots, 14 of which are infected with H5N6 and the other two H5N1. In Việt Nam it is now time for avian influenza to break out in localities where people don't vaccinate their animals. However in big farms, thanks to the high vaccination rate, the poultry there have been well protected from the two types of influenzas – H5N6 and H5N1.
In short, Việt Nam has been proactive in controlling avian influenza.
What has Việt Nam been doing to prevent the outbreak of avian influenza?
The Prime Minister, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the National Steering Committee have issued many documents on how to prevent the outbreak of avian influenza. At the same time, inspections have been carried out frequently to ensure all localities strictly implement the Government’s policies on avian influenza prevention.
According to a report released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, from February-May 2019, almost 127,000 pigs were destroyed. Yet by December, more than 38,000 pigs were destroyed. And in January 2020, some 12,000 pigs were destroyed. It is projected that in February some 2,000 pigs are to be culled. If things go smoothly, we will be able to start multiplying the pig herds and hopefully by June, we will have some 4 million tonnes of pork to supply to the market.
What should Việt Nam do to increase agricultural produce output?
Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has worked closely with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and border provinces to transport our agricultural products to China. It has been reported that in the last few days, each day, more than 100 vehicles loaded with farm products crossed the border to China at the northern Lào Cai border gate.
In the course of fighting avian influenza, Việt Nam has adopted quite a few measures to protect Vietnamese agriculture products.
In his inspection visit to many provinces, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Dường has asked provincial authorities to restructure production of farm products and find ways to store them for future consumption.
He also asked all provincial authorities to establish a link between supermarkets and outlet associations to help consume the farmers’ products.
In the meantime, in February the MARD has a plan to send a delegation to the US and Dubai to discuss how to export Vietnamese agro-products there. And in March, the MARD will send a working mission to Brazil to discuss how to expand co-operation between the two countries. Meanwhile, the MARD and the Ministry of Transport will discuss with India the possibility of opening a direct flight between the two countries to help increase exports between both sides.
How would you asses the quality of our veterinary activity?
Since early the 21st century up to now, some 75 per cent of animal diseases have been transferred to human beings, including the current COVID-19. That’s why in the fight against COVID-19, we should also pay special attention to the animal veterinary activity, particularly Article 6 of the Veterinary Law, Instruction No 34 of the Party Secretariat, the Resolution 42 of the Government have emphasised the importance of animal veterinary activities in the animal breeding industry.
Will you please talk a little bit about the use of vaccines against African swine fever in Việt Nam?
The vaccine against the African swine fever has now been in the process of developing. We hope in the near future the vaccine will be available.
However, for the vaccine for poultry, we have been successful in manufacturing the vaccine for H5N1. We’re confident that the vaccine will help secure the production of poultry in Việt Nam against avian Influenza. - VNS