The head of the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (MAGP) presided over an extraordinary meeting of the Southern Agricultural Council, in which the advance of avian influenza was the central theme.
President Luis Lacalle Pou participated together with the Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (MGAP), Fernando Mattos, of the XIII Extraordinary Meeting of the Southern Agricultural Councilwith the objective of analyzing concrete and joint measures in the region to face the advance of the bird flu in Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Paraguayan.
The Avian Influenza H5N1 It is a concern that is far from being mitigated in the country, at least as long as the virus continues to spread through the different departments —through infected wild birds— and there is still no fully developed vaccine. In this context, and with four foci of avian flu detected in the last month, the Livestock Ministers of the region, also strongly affected by the disease, met in Uruguay, which temporarily presides over the Southern Agricultural Council.
During the meeting, which included the participation of the president, Mattos appreciated the exchange of information in the fight against Avian Influenza within the framework of the Mercosur. He also pointed out that although Paraguay and Brazil have not officially detected cases, the transmission of the virus through migratory birds is worrying and creates challenges for the adoption of a single strategy to deal with infectious outbreaks.
In this sense, the head of the MGAP indicated that theThe vaccine represents one more instrument of biosecurity that can be implemented to preserve productive systems. In addition, he warned that there are confirmed cases of this condition in sea mammals in Chile and Peru, which means that the virus is mutating in the species, something that “forces to have a very close dialogue between the countries, where USA also participate, and share experiences to better understand and take action”, emphasized Mattos.
Drought, another general concern
The issue of extreme drought that affects not only Uruguay but several countries and areas of the region, was another of the issues put on the table at the meeting between ministers. Specifically, the need for forms of facilitation for the transit of fodder in South America.
“In regional agricultural production, we have a great lever for the economic and social development of the countries. The challenge is to have tools to mitigate the effects of climate change and to better position, in international trade, the image of regional agricultural production”, said Mattos.
In Uruguay and Argentina, the effects on cattle due to the lack of fodder are particularly worrying, and on the soybean harvest, which in the country will already be two-thirds lower than expected, with similar forecasts for the neighboring nation.