September 17, 2003
Lower Mekong To Prevent Foot-And-Month Disease
Countries in the lower Mekong region have agreed on measures to control the outbreak and spread of foot-and-month disease, which is the world's most infectious livestock disease and a barrier to international trade.
Animal health officials from Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia and Cambodia meeting in Phnom Penh on Tuesday have agreed to a joint plan controlling animal movement and tackling livestock smuggling throughout the region, the Cambodia Daily reported Wednesday.
Among the proposals include establishing a control zone to monitor cattle and pigs passing between Cambodia and Thailand or Vietnam, and enhancing public awareness of the disease through campaigns to curb the spread of virus in the region.
Cambodia's livestock trade accounts for 14 percent of agricultural commerce, which make up 46 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), said Sen Sovann, deputy director of the Agriculture Ministry's Animal Health and Production Department.
More than 1,000 cows in Cambodia were infected in April 2002, when Vietnamese imported pigs infected cattle and buffalo across the country.
Mr Sovann added that preventing the spread of this deadly disease will bring down barriers to trade in the region and enable small farmers to develop their market.