Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia has moved another step closer to eliminating costly lumpy skin disease (LSD) and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) among livestock with the support of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Australia.

In response to the recent outbreaks of LSD and FMD among livestock in Indonesia, the FAO and the Australian government are collaborating to support the Indonesian government in containing and controlling the spread of the high-impact cattle diseases, according to a written statement issued by FAO Indonesia on Wednesday.

The FAO is working with the Indonesian government — with the Australian government contributing US$792 thousand for the effort -- to increase the capacity of livestock officials and farmers to help them prevent and control LSD and FMD outbreaks, while strengthening risk communication among the targeted high-risk groups, the statement said.

"We are very pleased to assist with efforts to stop the further spread of foot-and-mouth disease and lumpy skin disease within the region. These efforts require significant resourcing, technical expertise, and collaboration, and we will continue to work together to support each other and share knowledge," Australia’s Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry, Murray Watt, said.

While not a threat to human health, LSD and FMD are highly infectious viral diseases that affect cattle and other livestock.

More than 600 thousand animals in Indonesia have been infected with FMD and more than 11 thousand have died, while farmers have been forced to slaughter another 15 thousand animals so far, according to the FAO.

Indonesia had remained free of FMD for more than 30 years, but in September 2022, the government reported an FMD outbreak in 24 out of 34 provinces in the country. Since then, a further 3 provinces have been affected by the outbreak.

Meantime, LSD has infected more than 22 thousand animals in 13 provinces in Indonesia, and the outbreaks have continued.

The potential annual economic losses from an FMD outbreak could be as high as Rp1 trillion (USS6.6 billion). While that is bad for the economy of the country as a whole, it can be devastating for smallholders and their families.

"Livestock is a crucial component of many rural economies, providing food, income, and livelihoods to millions of people around the world. Controlling and eradicating diseases such as FMD and LSD is essential for protecting these livelihoods and ensuring a sustainable future for rural communities," FAO Representative in Indonesia and Timor-Leste, Rajendra Aryal, said.

“The FAO is fully committed to supporting our member countries in achieving this goal,” he added.

A new agreement, entitled “Reducing the Impact of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) and Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) Outbreaks and Building the Response Capacity to these Outbreaks in Indonesia,” will be implemented over a period of one year to support livestock disease elimination.

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Reporter: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Editor: Sri Haryati
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