The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has officially declared Brazil as a country free from Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) with vaccination. The decision for this occurred late May, in Paris, France.
The decision took place after approval last year from the OIE’s scientific committee, which is constituted by 181 member states.
None of Brazil’s 26 states have registered any case of FMD since 2006. Nevertheless, the northern region, including the Amazon rain forest, had not been recognised until now. Santa Catarina, in the south and a well-known state for pig production, so far was the only exception, even having been declared ‘free from FMD without vaccination’ 10 years ago.
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Director-general Monique Eloit delivered the health certificate to Blairo Maggi, Brazil’s minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply at the OIE headquarters.
In a speech at the opening of the 86th session of OIE, Mr Maggi called the recognition “the victory of a long and hard trajectory of much dedication of cattle ranchers and the Brazilian official veterinary sector.”
It was a huge challenge that has been lasting 50 years. Brazil has over 8.5 million km2 and has 16,800 km of frontiers.
Mr Maggi analysed the importance of the agricultural sector in the Brazilian economy, positively influencing the trade balance, generating employment and income, and contributing to inflation control and improving the population’s living conditions.
In 2017, livestock represented a gross production value of around US$ 60 billion. In the same period, the meat sector’s exports alone grew by 8.9%, reaching a volume of US$ 15.5 billion.
Mr Maggi said, “And we still have the potential to grow much more in the international market because we export only a small part of our cattle and pork production.”
Brazil produces 3.7 million tonnes of pork and exports less than 20% of this amount. Brazilian exports have been increasing since 2014, but experienced a drop down of 5% last year to stand around 700,000 tonnes per year.
According to Marcelo Lopes, president of Brazilian Pig Producers Association, the next step is to reach the status of ‘country free from FMD without vaccination’. Besides Santa Catarina, Brazil’s main pork exporting state, 3 other states (Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná and São Paulo) are on their way to achieve that status as well.
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Mr Lopes said, “It is very important news for exports, because it makes Brazil stronger in negotiations. We already dealt with Classical Swine Fever and, now we are working for FMD without vaccination. We are taking large steps. Our sanitary status will contribute to more stability in our sector.”
Last year, agricultural minister Maggi predicted that the whole of Brazil would reach this status by 2022.