26 Jul 2018

Farmers’ perspective on AMR. It’s more than one just important issue

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Rome, Italy, July 26, 2018 – Last week, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report charting progress in tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The report looks at surveillance, education, monitoring and regulating consumption and use of antimicrobials in human health, animal health and production, as well as plants and the environment – as recommended in the Global Action Plan on AMR, which was endorsed by WHO, FAO Member States and OIE Member Countries in 2015.

The release reveals that countries are making significant steps, but serious gaps remain and require urgent action, highlighting wide discrepancies.
Uncontrolled use of antibiotics for disease control and treatment or growth stimulation in livestock has increased resistance to antibiotics of bacteria that can reach humans through the food chain.

The World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), as representative of the farming community worldwide has a lot to say about it.

Addressing the AMR is a “One Health” issue and farmers are clearly part of the solution.

Sustainable farming should allow livestock farmers all over the world to have viable return for their farming activities.   Livestock production should secure strong health and high welfare of the animals.  National standards with the objective of securing high animal health welfare should be based on sound science and knowledge, and as a minimum grounded on internationally agreed standards proposed by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). Global strategies to prevent and control zoonotic pathogens must be developed to protect public health. Considerable reduction in preventive use of antimicrobials in livestock farming is necessary to safeguard the availability of life-saving drugs.
In the current situation the main gap is the involvement of farmers in the policy-making process.

Involving farmers means understanding their expectations, supporting them in overcoming obstacles that are different between high-income and lower middle-income countries, North and South, livestock, arable crops and horticulture. Overcoming obstacles concerns not only the antibiotic usage regulation but also the system production improvement. Information, Education and communication also play a huge role. The World Farmers’ Organisation wants to play a key part in filling this gap.
Nowadays decisions are taken at a high-level, first global, then regional, next national and finally reach farmers and their daily work. Often these decisions are not feasible and put farmers completely out of market, without bringing any benefit.

Working through the entire value chain in a joint bottom-up approach, including all the actors, not only the institutions, is the real “One-Health” approach to get a real solution and farmers stand ready to do their part.