South Asia


Milk cans at Ol Kalou Dairy Plant, Kenya (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

A new research report (Oct 2020) by scientists from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) reviews the status and policy contexts of informal milk markets in Kenya, Tanzania and Assam (India) to better understand the opportunities for a policy innovation based on training and certification to overcome market access barriers for sellers of informal milk by improving the health and safety practices of informal milk traders, thereby addressing policymakers’ concerns. It is based on an extensive review of available literature and a small number of expert interviews and contributions.

Citation

Blackmore, E., Guarín, A., Alonso, S., Grace, D. and Vorley, B. 2020. Informal milk markets in Kenya, Tanzania and Assam (India): An overview of their status, policy context, and opportunities for policy innovation to improve health and safety. ILRI Project Report. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.

Photo credit: Milk cans at the Ol Kalou Dairy Plant, Kenya (ILRI/Paul Karaimu)


Farmer herds his three bulls in Nikhekhu Village, Dimapur, Nagaland, India (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

Rapid urbanization in India has led to expansion of peri-urban fringes, where intensive, industry-style livestock rearing has led to emerging vulnerabilities at the human-animal-environment interface.

To better understand the health system and farm-level factors that influence the risk of transmission of bovine tuberculosis in animals and humans, a qualitative study was undertaken among smallholder dairy farms in peri-urban zones in three cities in India: Guwahati, Ludhiana and Bangalore. Data were collected through literature reviews, expert consultations and in-depth interviews.

The study, published in BMC Public Health (March 2019), found that farmers consulted veterinarians as a last resort after home remedies and quacks had failed. Damage control measures, especially with respect to selling or abandoning sick animals, added to the risk of disease transmission.

Although civic authorities believed in the adequacy of a functioning laboratory network, end users were aggrieved at the lack of services. Despite the presence of extension services, knowledge and awareness were limited, promoting risky behaviour.

In addition, the absence of policies on the management of bovine tuberculosis may have influenced stakeholders not to consider it to be a major animal and public health concern.

“Evidence is needed not only about the burden and risks, but also on possible options for control applied in the local Indian setting,” the authors say.

The study also recommends that the identified gaps in knowledge be addressed through collaborative research and One Health interventions involving both animal and human health sectors.

Access the article Community, system and policy level drivers of bovine tuberculosis in smallholder periurban dairy farms in India: A qualitative enquiry by A.S. Chauhan and others.

Feeding pigs in Nagaland

A woman feeds her pigs in Nagaland, India (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

 

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) works with various partner organizations in northeast India on research-for-development activities aimed at improving the smallholder pig sub-sector in the region. This has been possible through a long-term Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) signed in 2004.

These research activities were recently showcased at a one-day roundtable seminar held on 3 June 2017 at the ICAR National Research Centre on Pig (NRCP) in the northeast Indian state of Assam. The seminar was organized by the Canadian High Commission in India in collaboration with NRCP, the Indian Chamber of Commerce and the Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

The event brought together researchers, industry stakeholders, government officials from different states in India, particularly from the northeast region, and representatives from ICAR and the Canadian High Commission to discuss the current status of India’s pig sub-sector, share information on the latest local and international developments in pig production and encourage collaboration and sharing of knowledge across the two countries.

ILRI scientist Ram Pratim Deka gave a special address on the institute’s pig-related research activities implemented in northeast India to date, namely:

  • Pig appraisal studies in the states of Assam and Nagaland
  • National agricultural innovation projects in the state of Nagaland
  • Enhancing Livelihoods through Livestock Knowledge System project in the states of Nagaland and Mizoram
  • Pig nutrition pilot project
  • Livestock service provider model for delivery of minor veterinary services
  • Analysis of hazards in raw pork sold in wet markets
  • Epidemiological study and policy initiative on classical swine fever
  • Framing of Nagaland’s pig breeding policy
  • Technical support for rolling out pig breeding policy and artificial insemination in pigs

Among the other topics discussed during the seminar were principles of biosecurity, nutrition, emerging pig diseases, breeding, genetics and disease control.

View the presentation, Brief overview of ILRI’s activities in Northeast India on pig system development

ILRI Asia

Hung Nguyen and Johanna Lindahl at One Health/EcoHealth seminar

ILRI scientists Hung Nguyen and Johanna Lindahl (fifth and sixth from right) at a One Health/EcoHealth seminar on capacity building in India (photo credit: Public Health Foundation in India).

One Health and EcoHealth approaches have gained a foothold in Southeast Asia in recent years, especially in Vietnam. In India, One Health/EcoHealth approaches have also been adopted, and the goal of the agencies and research institutes in the country is to strengthen capacity building for those involved in the livestock sector, particularly smallholder farmers, to respond to threats of zoonotic diseases.

To promote One Health/EcoHealth mainstreaming in India, two scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) recently participated in two seminars in New Delhi to share their research experiences that can be useful for India’s efforts at mainstreaming One Health/EcoHealth capacity building in the country.

Hung Nguyen-Viet, ILRI acting regional representative for East and Southeast Asia, food safety scientist and…

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Butchers of Hmong black pig meat in Northwest Vietnam

Hmong butchers selling pig meat from the indigenous Hmong black pig, recognizable from its thick layer of fat below the skin, Bac Ha, Lao Cai Province, Vietnam (photo credit: ILRI/Jo Cadilhon).

Scientists working on a project to reduce disease risks and improve food safety in smallholder pig value chains in Vietnam have published a new research brief that highlights the key outcomes of the project in capacity building and transdisciplinary research.

The 5-year project, Reducing disease risks and improving food safety in smallholder pig value chains in Vietnam (PigRisk), was launched in 2012 and is led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in collaboration with the Hanoi School of Public Health and the Vietnam National University of Agriculture.

Among the outputs the project has achieved to date are: maps of value chain actors, assessments of production constraints of pig producers and estimates of health risks along the pork value chain.

In addition, several MSc students have been trained, publications written and presentations made to disseminate the study findings. The research team is currently developing and implementing interventions to positively influence the behaviour of value chain actors and improve food safety.

Download the brief, Changes in researcher capacity in assessing food safety risks and value chains: Insights from PigRisk team

ILRI Asia

Indian newspaper The Telegraph reported on Monday, 20 July 2015, that a program by researchers from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) that trained smallholder dairy producers in Guwahati in Assam, India led to an increase in milk production through improved methods and practices of dairy farming.

The milk market in Assam is dominated by informal and unorganized milk market actors, consisting of producers, vendors, sweet makers and cottage processors. Altogether they handle 97% of the total milk market but are not formally recognized and are not integrated in the milk value chain in the state. Milk quality and milk safety are also key concerns for governments and consumers alike.

According to the article, the increase in dairy productivity was reported in an impact assessment carried out by a team of students from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in 2014.

Certification distribution ceremony in Guwahati, India On 17 July 2015, a certification distribution ceremony was…

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Feeding pigs in Nagaland

A woman feeds her pigs in Nagaland, India (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

The first risk-based study of food safety in the pork value chain in Nagaland, Northeast India has identified several important microbiological hazards and assessed their impacts on human health.

Nagaland has the highest density of pigs in India and the highest pork consumption levels. Therefore, information on pathogens in pigs and pork in the region, and their health impacts, is useful for decision-making on interventions aimed at improving food safety and safeguarding the health of consumers.

The study investigated samples from pigs and pork sourced at slaughter in urban and rural environments, and at retail, to assess a selection of food-borne hazards. In addition, consumer exposure was characterized using information about hygiene and practices related to handling and preparing pork.

The food-borne pathogens identified include Listeria spp. and Brucella suis. A risk assessment framework assessed the health impacts of three representative hazards or hazards proxies, namely, Enterobacteriaceae, Taenia solium cysticercosis and antibiotic residues.

The study found that by using participatory methods and rapid diagnostics alongside conventional methods, risk assessment can be used in a resource-scarce setting.

The findings are published in a special issue on food safety and public health in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

View the article

Citation
Fahrion AS, Jamir L, Richa K, Begum S, Rutsa V, Ao S, Padmakumar VP, Deka RP and Grace D. 2014. Food-safety hazards in the pork chain in Nagaland, North East India: Implications for human health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 11(1): 403-417.

Morning milking in Rajasthan, India

Morning milking in Rajasthan, India. Regional experts have called for appropriate One Health approaches to improve the prevention and control of zoonoses and agriculture-associated diseases in South Asia (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

On 25 November 2013, a regional multi-stakeholder forum on One Health/Ecohealth, with special emphasis on agriculture-associated diseases, was held in New Delhi, India. The event brought together some 50 high-level representatives from the human, animal and environmental health sectors, including international donors, policymakers, developmental agencies and researchers.

Among the several issues discussed was the need for a centralized body or coordination mechanism to address the prevention and control of zoonotic diseases in the South Asia region. With regard to disease surveillance and reporting, it was felt that in countries like India which follow a ‘top-down’ approach, there is need to also incorporate community-based ‘bottom-up’ surveillance that focuses not just on reporting but also on development.

Several participants drew attention to the need to develop robust estimates on how much zoonotic diseases are currently costing the public and private sectors. In order to be able to convince policymakers to invest in One Health, there is need to provide estimates of the full cost of disease and the cost of different options for reducing it.

One of the suggestions put forward to add value to One Health efforts was to document best practices – with clear pointers to what worked well and what did not – and share these lessons with states and regions who could adapt them to suit their local contexts. This is important as because there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to One Health.

The stakeholder forum was organized by the South Asia office of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and supported by the International Association for Ecology and Health, the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) and the Public Health Foundation of India.

Access the workshop report

ILRI's regional representative for South Asia, Purvi Mehta-Bhatt, receives the 2013 Agriculture Leadership Award at a ceremony held in New Delhi, India

Purvi Mehta-Bhatt receives the 2013 Agriculture Leadership Award from the Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Shri BL Joshi. In the background is Prof MS Swaminathan, the architect of India’s Green Revolution (photo credit: ILRI/Purvi Mehta-Bhatt).

We are pleased to congratulate Purvi Mehta-Bhatt – the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) regional representative for South Asia – for being among 11 recipients of India’s Agriculture Leadership Awards for 2013.

The award was presented at a prestigious ceremony held on 19 September 2013 in New Delhi that was graced by the presence of Prof MS Swaminathan, the architect of India’s Green Revolution.

Mehta-Bhatt received the Woman Leadership Award in recognition of her leadership role in influencing crop and livestock policies in India and for her continued efforts in linking grassroots level issues to national, regional and international research and policy strategies.

Facilitated by Agriculture Today, India’s leading agriculture magazine, these national awards are presented to institutions and individuals for outstanding leadership in agriculture.

In addition to her role as head of ILRI’s research programs in South Asia, Mehta-Bhatt is one of the research activity leaders of One Health and Ecohealth in ILRI’s Food Safety and Zoonoses program.