Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Harish Rawat today called upon experts to evolve ways to fight trans-boundary diseases by expanding consultations, “I am convinced that this expert consultation will enhance our ability to respond quickly, to trans-boundary diseases and pests, with adequate official services for a better inter-sectoral collaboration,” he said.
Rawat was speaking at the “Expert consultation on Managing Trans-boundary Diseases of Agricultural Importance in Asia-Pacific”. The three-day Expert Consultation is being jointly organized by ICAR and APAARI with the major objective to priorities areas of collaboration and partnerships for managing Trans-boundary diseases in the region. Around 150 delegates and experts from FAO, WHO, ICAR, APAARI, CG Centers, OIE and other national and international organizations are participating in the event.
Elaborating further he said, “Nowadays, the movement of plant pests, as well as the diseases of animals, fishes and plants, across boundaries, have given rise to global threats, to food security, and related trade. This has created global concern on public health, especially when such diseases and pests affect humans. Increased movement of people, terrestrial and aquatic animals, plants and products, in the globalized economy on the one hand, and the concentration and intensification of production systems on the other, have accelerated, and enlarged redistribution of animal diseases, and plant pests, with a clear tendency to expand to all regions of the globe. Climate change is creating new ecological niches, for the re-emergence and spread of pests and diseases. As such, the impact of trans-boundary animal diseases, and plant pests, has considerably increased. Outbreaks of diseases have resulted in major food problems, either directly through yield reductions of food crops, and losses in animals and fishes, or indirectly through the reduction of yields of cash crops, and loss of consumer confidence, for example, Highly pathogenic Avian Influenza, Swine flu, Rinderpest, Potato blight or Locusts.”
Highlighting the impact of such diseases on international trade the Minister said, “In recent times, the list of imported exotic diseases has grown, while substantial progress is yet to be made, in the control of local entrenched pathogens. With the prevailing factors, such as, climate change, ever increasing human mobility, or travel and agricultural change; it is likely that trans-boundary diseases will continue to pose a serious challenge. Since these diseases respect no internal, national and international borders; they require global perspectives and responses, conceptually and geographically. Poor countries and producers may perceive different risks and incentives, associated with Trans-boundary diseases and pests. It is in the interest of the international community, to avoid creating country, or regional reservoirs, for Trans-boundary diseases and pests, that will maintain the threat at global level.”