A stall owner watches over her pork and beef stock in a local wet market of Hanoi, Vietnam (photo credit: ILRI/Andrew Nguyen).
Researchers and development actors from the pig sectors of South East Asia and East Africa gathered last week in Hanoi to discuss new developments in managing food safety and biosecurity in the informal pig sector.
The workshop, organized by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in conjunction with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), saw government ministry representatives, scientists and specialists in pig health, animal health, public health, economics and ecology, discuss their research on public health innovations and how they can be best implemented through the emerging CGIAR research programs (particularly those on ‘livestock and fish‘ and on ‘agriculture, health and nutrition.).
These two programs have identified improvements in pork production, productivity and safety in the pig-smallholder dominated markets of Vietnam, Uganda and the northeast Indian state of Nagaland as initial areas of focus.
With pig-markets in the three locations heavily weighted towards smallholder producers, the workshop paid particular attention to the challenges facing the informal pig sector. Providing support technically, organizationally and through market innovations to these smallholders is of growing importance in countries such as Vietnam. For it is in these developing economy markets, that concerns of food safety which are arising from heightened demand for animal-source foods, is being answered by public policy in favor of industrialization, and as such – threatens smallholder market access.
The three-day gathering, titled Managing risk in emerging pork markets: A South-South Symposium saw participants share short papers and presentations on the lessons learnt from the following key areas:
- Food safety in informal markets
- Integrated assessment and management of pig health risks in Laos
- Veterinary public health research in SE Asia
- Market-based approaches to food safety
- Sharing lessons from pig production between SE Asia and NE India
- Managing pig risks from a farming systems perspective
- Best practices for value chain upgrading for food safety: some examples for selected livestock commodities