Jakarta (ANTARA) - The 2023 Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) Control and Handling National Program, launched on January 28, 2023, and centralized in Barru District, South Sulawesi, has resulted in a decrease in FMD cases in livestock in Indonesia.

Efforts made in the program encompass carrying out vaccinations; providing vaccine assistance, medicines, and disinfectants; as well as conducting the marking of livestock simultaneously in 29 provinces across Indonesia.

The FMD control and handling efforts have continued and must be carried out jointly to strengthen determination and hard work as well as to respond to dynamics in the implementation of vaccinations and livestock marking faced by officers.

Director General of Animal Husbandry and Animal Health at the Ministry of Agriculture Nasrullah stated that since the FMD outbreak hit Indonesia in May 2022, the government had made various efforts to control it, such as through conducting clinical surveillance, applying biosecurity measures, limiting the mobility of livestock, and conducting vaccinations on a massive scale.

The procurement of vaccines in 2022 had reached 9.3 million doses for all animals vulnerable to FMD, such as cows, buffaloes, goats, sheep, and pigs.

The provision of vaccinations in vulnerable animals in 2022 had caused a 99.9-percent decline in FMD cases in December 2022 as compared to May 2022.

In addition, it is reported that 11 provinces had the Zero Reported Case status.

To provide group immunity to livestock, the vaccination coverage needs to at least reach 80 percent of the population of animals that are vulnerable to FMD.

This must be a common concern to continue to increase vaccination coverage, so that the livestock are safe from FMD until the vaccination coverage reaches 100 percent.

For 2023, the allocation of FMD vaccines for cows and buffaloes is as many as 35,841,638 doses, with a vaccination target of administering 32,957,208 doses.

The allocated doses are to be used for vaccinating animals thrice, namely first dose, second dose, and booster dose. The vaccines are distributed in stages to 29 provinces in the country.

Global response

Indonesia's efforts to control the FMD outbreak in the country received global response and support, especially from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

To respond to the emergence of Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) and FMD outbreaks in livestock in Indonesia, the FAO and the Australian government collaborated to support the Indonesian government in stopping and controlling the spread of diseases that have a significant economic impact.

FAO representative in Indonesia and Timor-Leste Rajendra Aryal stated that although they do not threaten the people's lives, LSD and FMD are highly contagious viral diseases that attack cows and other farm animals, so they can be fatal and always cause livestock farmers to experience losses.

More than 600 thousand animals in Indonesia have been infected with FMD, and over 11 thousand have died. In addition, 15 thousand animals were slaughtered due to the disease.

Earlier, Indonesia had been free from FMD for 30 years, but in September 2022, the government reported that the FMD outbreak was detected in 24 provinces in the country.

Meanwhile, LSD has infected more than 22 thousand animals in 13 provinces in Indonesia as the outbreak continues.

The potential annual economic loss due to the FMD outbreak could reach Rp1 trillion (around US$64.1 million). This condition is quite inconducive for the country's economy as a whole and negatively affects the economy of livestock farmers and their families.

Animal husbandry is an important component of the economy for many villages. It provides food, income, and livelihoods for millions of people around the world.

To this end, controlling and eliminating diseases, such as FMD and LSD, are highly important to secure a source of income and ensure a sustainable future for rural communities.

The FAO is fully committed to supporting its member countries to reach the goal. In this regard, Rajendra Aryal expressed his gratitude for the Australian government's contribution.

The FAO is cooperating with the Indonesian government to improve the capacity of animal health officers on the field as well as the capacity of livestock farmers to help prevent and control LSD and FMD outbreaks.

In addition, the two parties cooperate in strengthening risk communication that targets farmers whose livestock has a high risk of contracting diseases.

Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry Murray Watt stated that Australians have a proud history of helping their close neighbor, Indonesia.

This effort needs significant resources, technical skills, and collaboration. To this end, Australia will continue to cooperate through support and exchange of knowledge.

Watt expressed hope that additional support from Australia would be able to reduce the negative impact of diseases on food security and the livelihoods of Indonesian livestock farmers while simultaneously protecting the livestock industry in other countries, including Australia.

Diseases in livestock, from time to time, still have the potential to occur. Indonesia's past experience in handling the outbreak has shown that the country has a big capital to escape crises. Nevertheless, cooperation with global partners must continue to be built.

Translator: Andi Jauhary, Raka Adji
Editor: Azis Kurmala
Copyright © ANTARA 2023