By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
In spite of strict veterinary control based on Azerbaijan legislation, the country still seems vulnerable to infectious animal diseases from foreign countries.To protect or to avoid the entry into the territory of Azerbaijan of infectious animal diseases from foreign countries, Azerbaijan requested for assistance of FAO, which recent projects are aimed at controlling transboundary animal diseases, and building locust-control capacity, address emergency preparedness and response.
Melek Cakmak, the Head of Partnership and Liaison Office of the FAO, said that the organization will support measures to improve the supervision of animal diseases in Azerbaijan.
However, good animal feeding also plays a vital role in animal health, welfare and in the production of safe and quality products of animal origin. The link between safe feed and safe food is now well recognized; in particular the modern approach to food safety identifies measures to minimize and prevent the entry of hazards at the early stages of the production chain, including the primary production of the feed grains and fodder.
Therefore, it is even wider work which includes control of contamination episodes due to infected or poor quality feed.
Speaking at the event dedicated to the presentation of the project, Cakmak said jointly with the Food Safety Agency, the National Reference Laboratory, the regional experimental laboratories and the Agricultural Services Agency, a project has been launched to improve the control of animal diseases. Cakmak noted that the project aims to improve the capacity of relevant structures in Azerbaijan to prevent, diagnose and identify early endemic and exotic transboundary animal diseases.
It is justified decision by FAO to run this project with Azerbaijani Food Safety Agency as the agency conducts surveillance over food security in all stages of food chain, including production, storage, packaging, transportation, turnover (including export-import operations).
Cakmak emphasized that the total cost of the project will be $256,000 and the staff of the National Reference Laboratory and six regional laboratories, as well as a number of private and state veterinarians will be involved in special training with the participation of international and local experts in this field.
She pointed out that the project, which is to last until 2020, will be fully funded by FAO. Cakmak concluded that implementation will have a positive impact on the health of animals and the population, as well as improve food security and competitiveness of agricultural products.
FAO assistance to Azerbaijan’s food and agriculture sector is determined by priorities set forth in the new FAO Country Programming Framework, developed with the Government of Azerbaijan in alignment with Azerbaijan: Vision 2020 and other national strategy documents. The current FAO Country Programming Framework brings together best international practices and global standards with national and regional expertise, covering the period from 2016 to 2020.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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