Containing the Risks of African Swine Fever in South-eastern Europe

PROJECT SUMMARY

Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine are working to manage the risks of transboundary animal diseases which devastate wild and domestic animal populations threatening the food security and livelihoods of millions of people.

CONTEXT

The EBRD and FAO are improving the capacity of private and public sectors to manage the risks associated with transboundary animal diseases across several countries in South-Eastern Europe. While the project particularly focuses on African Swine Fever – a highly contagious disease affecting domestic and wild pig populations around the world – many of the lessons learned apply to other animal disease outbreaks that can cause devastating impacts on the food security and livelihoods of millions of people.

The project started in Ukraine in 2016 and expanded in 2020 to include Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania and Serbia. While the size and type of each country’s pork production and consumption vary including commercial and small household farms as well as hunted wild boar, they share a common vulnerability to the impacts of African Swine Fever. Romania is the worst-affected country in Europe with over 1 500 confirmed outbreaks annually while Bulgaria culled 130 000 pigs following 30 outbreaks across 10 regions in 2018 estimating the potential losses of an outbreak to be USD 1.3 billion.

Activities​

Developing preparedness plans, implementing improved biosecurity and animal health practices and supporting the development of private sector self-regulated food quality and safety assurance mechanisms.

Developing and delivering training courses for professionals on critical topics such as biohazard safety on farms, and anti-microbial resistance.

Conducting community-level awareness events and training, for example, with local hunting groups, and campaigns that stimulate consumer demand for higher food quality.

Reviewing national laboratory capacity and monitoring plans to combat anti-microbial resistance (Ukraine) and stimulating collaboration and innovation in anti-microbial resistance in pig and poultry production. Plans include the development of antibiotic-free pork production following a successful pilot.

Achievements

While progress on some activities planned has been delayed due to the COVID-19 Global Pandemic,
some achievements of the project so far include:

  • Three virtual meetings convened in 2022 on animal health and food safety targeting Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia attended by 500 participants.
  • Professional training delivered to targeted groups including veterinaries on managing risks of African Swine Fever and other transboundary diseases including rabies, with 20 online lectures on food safety, anti-microbial resistance and annual health attended by more than 500 students, government stakeholders and farmers.
  • Ten workshops to raise awareness about African Swine Fever in Serbia were attended by around 300 private sector participants.
  • A review of national African Swine Fever contingency plans and development of a training manual and study materials.
  • Organizing seven simulation exercises for official and private veterinarians in the region.
  • Biosafety audits were completed in Ukraine, Romania and Serbia resulting in a list of recommendations and technical support to six private companies.
  • A roundtable competition for the best project to strengthen the fight against antimicrobial resistance in animal husbandry as a driver of innovation and collaboration between universities, agricultural enterprises, and laboratories in Ukraine.
  • More than 30 audits of hunting grounds resulted in recommendations on standard operating practices for biosecurity, wild boar carcass dressing and offal disposal to minimize risk. The recommendations were disseminated to relevant groups and supported by 10 training workshops in Serbia attended by 300 hunters where an outbreak of African Swine Fever is highlighted as a risk in wild boar populations.
  • Communication materials that link domestic pig production, biosecurity and wild boar management, as well as 10 local awareness-raising meetings with hunting communities, veterinaries, private companies and the national competent authority.

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