Saturday, April 13, 2024

NZ to support Pacific animal disease control efforts

Aotearoa New Zealand is set to provide support for Pacific countries to prevent the spread of harmful animal diseases, Associate Minister of Agriculture Meka Whaitiri has announced.

The Associate Minister is attending a meeting of Pacific Ministers during the Pacific Week of Agriculture and Forestry in Nadi, Fiji.

“Highly contagious diseases such as African Swine Fever (ASF) and Foot and Mouth Disease are a major concern for the Pacific,” Ms Whaitiri said.

“In 2020-21 for instance, an outbreak of ASF in Papua New Guinea  severely impacted the livelihoods of tens of thousands of families there. Climate change is also increasing the prevalence of pests and diseases affecting agricultural production and food security in the Pacific,” she said.

“It’s important Pacific countries including New Zealand learn from each other and share knowledge to support each other when these sorts of outbreaks occur.”

Ms Whaitiri said the New Zealand Government will focus on strengthening border biosecurity, disease surveillance and veterinary capacity across the Pacific. One new initiative will be an internship programme supported by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Massey University.

“This will enable vet students from Fiji National University to gain the valuable, practical experience required to qualify as vets in Fiji.”

“It’s a practical way in which New Zealand can assist in building vital animal health capacity in the Pacific and strengthen biosecurity and animal health practices and I am very pleased we can support it,” the Minister said.

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