Profits for poultry farmers boosted
Imagine being a poultry farmer, then one day you suffer huge losses as you are forced to kill 11,000 of your chickens. Bambang Sutrisno, a poultry farmer in Semarang district, Central Java, lived this experience when the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus attacked his farm in August 2003.
“I was crying when I culled my chickens… how did this happen?” Bambang recalled. “Every time the chickens are infected by a disease, we feel like we are being robbed by micro-organisms that we cannot even see,” he added.
Bambang was not alone. Since the first detection of HPAI virus in Indonesia in 2003, the disease has caused the deaths of millions of poultry in 32 of the country’s 34 provinces, disrupting the livelihoods of large numbers of people dependent on poultry-keeping. Moreover, since 2005, Indonesia has been one of the global epicenters for human H5N1 avian influenza infections.
To control HPAI in commercial poultry farms, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) Indonesia established the Commercial Poultry Veterinary Services (Pelayanan Veteriner Unggas Komersial/PVUK) programme in 2011. The programme has successfully trained 143 animal health officers from 50 districts in 12 provinces in Indonesia, concentrating on areas with large commercial poultry populations.
Focusing on improved biosecurity, vaccination practices and farm management, the PVUK officers provided technical assistance to 8,574 farmers through farm visits, disease surveillance and control training. Farmers are encouraged to make simple changes in their farm biosecurity, vaccination practices and farm management that fit their own capabilities.
The PVUK programme was what changed Bambang’s life. He once quitted the poultry business for a while, but now his hens’ egg production remains stable with the implementation of the 3-zone biosecurity. “Now we even exceeded the production standard of 55 kilos of eggs per 1,000 hens,” Bambang said.
Strengthening the capacity of government veterinary service officers through the PVUK programme has built trust between the government and the private poultry sector. It has also helped commercial poultry farmers to improve their productivity and boost their profitability.
As Bambang put it, “farmers cannot do this by themselves – they need assistance from the government”
Feeding the chickens