Agri-Health


To the grazing field, Afar, Ethiopia

Cattle going to the grazing field in Afar region, Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI/Apollo Habtamu).

Climate change influences the occurrence and transmission of a wide range of livestock diseases through multiple pathways. Diseases caused by pathogens that spent part of their life cycle outside the host (for instance, in vectors or the environment) are more sensitive in this regard, compared to those caused by obligate pathogens.

A newly published book, The Climate-Smart Agriculture Papers, brings together some of the latest research by agricultural scientists on climate-smart agriculture in eastern and southern Africa. The 25 chapters of the book highlight ongoing efforts to better characterize climate risks, develop and disseminate climate-smart varieties and farm management practices, and integrate these technologies into well-functioning value chains.

In a chapter on climate change and livestock diseases, scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) use two well-studied vector-borne diseases—Rift Valley fever and tick-borne diseases—as case studies to describe direct pathways through which climate change influences infectious disease-risk in East and southern Africa.

Access the chapter, Climate change and infectious livestock diseases: The case of Rift Valley fever and tick-borne diseases by Bernard Bett, Johanna Lindahl and Delia Grace.

Johanna Lindahl, senior scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute

Johanna Lindahl, senior scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (photo credit: ILRI/Dinesh).

We congratulate Johanna Lindahl, a senior veterinary epidemiologist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), on receiving the 2018 Swedish Institute for Global Health Transformation (SIGHT) Award and SEK 100,000 in recognition of her excellent scientific contribution to global health. The award was presented at a ceremony held in Stockholm on 25 November 2018.

The citation for her award reads: “Johanna Lindahl has, from a holistic perspective and in cooperation with researchers from low- and middle-income countries, developed our knowledge within areas of crucial relevance for the well-being and survival of mankind globally, namely human and animal interaction (One Health) as well as antibiotic resistance.”

The decision on the recipient of the SIGHT Award 2018 was taken by the board of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Lindahl is also an associate professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Uppsala University.

A4NH 2017 annual report cover

The CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) has published its 2017 annual report which highlights the program’s accomplishments and activities during the first year of its second phase.

Detailed in the report are research, events and results from across A4NH’s five research flagships and four focus countries, including:

  • in-depth analyses of food systems in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Vietnam, with a recently released report on findings in Ethiopia;
  • details on the release of 29 new biofortified crop varieties, extending reach to 3.6 million farming households;
  • the first licence for Aflasafe to be granted to a private company in Africa, for production, sale, and distribution in the Gambia and Senegal to protect crops from aflatoxin;
  • a special issue of the journal Global Food Security dedicated to stories of change, an innovative initiative building a resource base of experiential knowledge that explores drivers of change in improving nutrition;
  • research into how rice intensification in Africa can be achieved without increasing the risk of malaria; and
  • efforts on incorporating equity into A4NH’s research agenda.

Download the annual report or read an interactive online version.

Wet Markets of Hanoi

Pork on sale in a local wet market in Hanoi, Vietnam (photo credit: ILRI/Andrew Nguyen).

“Is my food safe?” This question voices a fundamental consumer concern – regardless of where they live, what their income level is, or where they purchase their food. The demand for information on food safety, meanwhile, grows louder particularly among consumers in low- and middle-income countries as they move towards cities and away from farms, growing more conscious of the quality of food they eat. But that information is rarely readily available, particularly in those countries.

Recognizing the universal nature of this question, the Agriculture, Nutrition and Health (ANH) Academy created a working group to consider current research on food safety, including metrics, tools, and definitions; identify areas of opportunity or need for additional research in this area; and suggest ways to make research on food safety in low- and middle-income countries more robust and replicable.

The results of this effort are reported in a new working paper and related technical brief by the ANH Academy Food Safety Working Group, which we have co-authored with our colleagues. The conceptual framework we developed in the course of undertaking this work identifies three main areas of focus:

  • foodborne hazards and risks that consider private, public, and export standards;
  • food safety system performance, which considers how well the food system delivers safe food; and
  • foodborne disease outcomes, which look at the impact that the safety of foods has in public health and the economy, among others.

With such a wide scope and so many actors, it naturally follows that there is no one measure to comprehensively cover this issue, however, we also recognize the need for stakeholders to be able to measure and report on it to identify areas and means of improvement. An important component of the report offers principles to guide those designing and selecting appropriate food safety measures and metrics.

We recommend, among other things:

  • those undertaking this process begin with a strategic plan that includes food safety goals and steps towards achieving them;
  • the plan looks beyond processes to also consider outcomes and impact;
  • the plan includes multiple measures, accurately reflecting the complex nature of this issue;
  • what is being measured is understood and accepted by all stakeholders; and
  • the benefits of measure-based food safety systems should outweigh the costs of their implementation.

As the working group conducted stakeholder workshops and situational analyses throughout Africa and Asia, we homed in on three key considerations for those looking to delve into the issue of understanding and managing food safety risks. Decision-makers need to understand:

  • the scope of the problem, and its impacts;
  • where concern exists, what it is rooted in, how it affects behaviour and what will allay it; and
  • what is being done in management of the issue, who is and should be involved and what can make it more effective.

To be sure, the report makes clear the intimidating size and scope of the food safety issue in low- and middle-income countries. However, it also lays out a roadmap to tackling this important challenge, one in which researchers and policymakers and the private sector and others can each contribute valuable pieces to the larger pool of knowledge. This collaboration, accompanied by thoughtful planning, can create an environment where people everywhere can rest assured about the safety of the food they eat.

Article by Delia Grace and Silvia Alonso, scientists at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)

Originally posted on the ANH Academy website

Citations:
Grace, D., Dominguez-Salas, P., Alonso, S., Fahrion, A., Haesler, B., Heilmann, M., Hoffmann, V., Kang’ethe, E., Roesel, K. and Lore, T. 2018. Food safety metrics relevant to low and middle income countries: Working paper. Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy, Food Safety Working Group. London, UK: Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions programme.

Grace, D., Dominguez-Salas, P., Alonso, S., Fahrion, A., Haesler, B., Heilmann, M., Hoffmann, V., Kang’ethe, E., Roesel, K. and Lore, T. 2018. Food safety metrics relevant to low and middle income countries: Technical brief. Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy Food Safety Working Group. London, UK: Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions Programme.

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ILRI Asia

A two-year project that will assess veterinary health management and veterinary drug use in Vietnamese pig farms has been launched.

The Health and Antibiotics in the Vietnamese Pig Production Project, known as VIDAPIG, is a collaboration between the University of Copenhagen, the National Institute of Veterinary Research, the National Institute of Nutrition and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

It will carry out research to identify and evaluate factors affecting veterinary health and veterinary drug use with the aim of establishing antimicrobial usage practices that are based on a One Health approach across the smallholder pig sector.

The project will be implemented from February 2018 to January 2020 in Bac Ninh Province.

Inception workshop of VIDAPIG project in Hanoi, 2 March 2018From left: Hung Nguyen, ILRI regional representative for East and Southeast Asia, Anders Dalsgaard from the University of Copenhagen, Pham Thi Ngoc, deputy director of the National Institute of Veterinary Research and Le Danh Tuyen, director…

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ILRI Clippings

African clay pots (via the Dick Jemison Tribal Arts Collection).

‘. . . Around 70 percent of all infectious diseases are zoonotic, moving from animals—usually livestock—to humans, through either contact or the consumption of animal products and by-products. The International Livestock Research Institute estimates that 2.7 million people die from zoonotic diseases each year, while approximately 2.5 billion people get sick. To offer some sense of scale, a recent study led by Lawrence Summers, former treasury secretary and former director of the National Economic Council at the White House, estimated that the costs of pandemic diseases—nearly all of which begin in animals—fall in the same range as those expected by climate change-related disasters.

‘”And yet only 4.5 percent of development money, of aid, goes to agriculture,” Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, executive director of the International Federation for Animal Health—the global trade association for leading animal pharmaceutical…

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