Participants from the inception workshop
In Vietnam, pork accounts for 75 per cent of meat consumed, with its production delivering substantial benefits to the smallholders who supply 84 per cent of the market. However, as previous ILRI research has found, pork in Vietnam contains high levels of pathogens, an issue of growing concern among policy makers and the public.
In light of this, the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is funding a new ILRI-led project on ‘pig risk’ in Vietnam. The project, titled ‘Reducing Pig Diseases and Improving Food Safety in Smallholder Pig Value Chains in Vietnam’, is led by ILRI in collaboration with the Hanoi School of Public Health (HSPH) and the Hanoi University of Agriculture (HUA). This new project builds on the findings of previous ILRI-research on improving competitiveness of pig producers in an adjusting market in Vietnam, also funded by ACIAR.
In preparation for the project, earlier this month in Hanoi, government ministry representatives, development practitioners, scientists, private sector stakeholders, and researchers from the areas of animal health, public health, economics and ecology gathered for the official inception workshop, where the project was introduced, and discussed at length by participants.
Facilitated by project team members from ILRI, and primary project partners from HSPH and HUA, the workshop introduced participants to the key research areas of the project:
- The human and economic costs of pork-borne diseases in smallholder pig value chains
- The adoption of ‘risk-based’ approaches to food safety and pork-borne diseases as opposed to the currently applied, ‘hazard-based’ approaches
- Incentive-based innovation as a means of improving the management of human and animal health risks in smallholder pig value chains.
Resulting participant discussion centralized upon the crucial distinction between ‘risk’ and ‘hazards’, and how this affects decision making, at both consumer and policy-making levels. Exploring the concept of incentive-based approaches in improving human and animal health management also elicited strong interest from workshop participants.
Also in attendance at the workshop was ILRI director-general Jimmy Smith, who highlighted the ongoing challenge of food scarcity and high food prices, and the importance of Southeast Asia in ILRI’s research agenda. Jimmy also reiterated the significant role of livestock small holders in responding to this challenge, and how projects such as this, are vital in providing the support small holders require in adequately supplying, affordable and safe food to the market to meet consumer demand.
The ‘Pig Risk’ project falls under the agriculture-associated diseases component of the CGIAR Research Project on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health, with additional links to the CGIAR Research Project on Livestock and Fish.
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