Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) organised a series of technical workshops over three days, from 22nd to 24th August 2023, to review the details of its strategic projects under the Biosecurity Programme, with the participation of several local and federal authorities.
The workshops reviewed the details of the Biosecurity Programme’s eight strategic projects being implemented in three phases, during the period 2023-2025, to ensure the achievement of biosecurity requirements within the One Health approach, which includes the health of humans, animals, plants, and the environment.
Programme’s strategic projects encompass a variety of initiatives. These encompass the establishment of a comprehensive biosecurity system rooted in One Health principles, along with the creation of a collaborative system for analysing and evaluating biosecurity risks. Furthermore, the programme seeks to develop an integrated database-supported legislative framework for biosecurity and simultaneously create a mechanism for biosecurity assessment.
Another project focuses on enhancing laboratory capabilities in a coordinated manner, with the assistance of an emergency response laboratory network. The programme also involves establishing a swift and efficient emergency response system, in addition to expanding and aligning prevention and surveillance systems. Lastly, a pivotal project aims to strengthen biosecurity in the transfer and production of animal/agricultural products within the context of both laboratory and fieldwork settings.
During the workshops, many specialised presentations and case studies were presented, with the participation of many local and federal authorities, to highlight the importance of biosecurity in protecting the health of humans, animals, and plants from diseases.
Day one saw a workshop entitled “Joint Risk Analysis,” where an introduction to joint risk analysis, the unified laboratory network, and ADAFSA’s risk management system were presented, in addition to several case studies. Day two workshop addressed the topic of antimicrobial resistance and pesticide residues, where UAE efforts through the federal and local authorities were reviewed in reducing antimicrobial resistance and discussing the challenges and proposed solutions.
Day three workshop addressed common diseases and foodborne diseases and reviewed the risks of the transmission of animal diseases to humans, either directly or through food, as well as how to deal with these risks and control them.
ADAFSA is keen to organise many awareness workshops and lectures to introduce its programmes and projects, exchange knowledge, and strengthen cooperation with stakeholders from all local and federal authorities to ensure the integration of efforts and enhance the utilisation of government resources, as part of its efforts to provide the best services to customers, develop a sustainable agricultural sector, preserve food safety, enhance biosecurity, and achieve food security.
ADAFSA Board of Directors had issued Resolution No. (1) of 2022 on the Requirements of Biosecurity in Crop and Livestock Farms in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, to strengthen the biosecurity system, control pests and diseases, ensure the health of plants and animals, enhance the safety of livestock, and contribute to reducing unsafe practices and uses in crop and livestock farms.
This Resolution reflects the vision of the wise leadership and its directives to develop a legislative and legal system that ensures the sustainability of agriculture and animal wealth and enhances their contribution to the food security system. It defines biosecurity requirements in the plant and animal fields, in addition to the obligations and responsibilities of the owners/managers of crop farms and livestock holdings to implement them.
The said Resolution defined plant biosecurity requirements, where all plant production farms are required to implement 21 requirements, including the safe disposal of agricultural waste and dead trees, the control of agricultural (animal and plant) diseases in the farm, and the non-harvesting of agricultural crops during the safety periods when applying pesticides.
Regarding animal biosecurity requirements, all crop and livestock farms engaged in animal production must adhere to 24 stipulations. These encompass measures such as ensuring animal identification and registration compliance, creating suitable spaces for fodder storage and preparation, isolating, and quarantining new animals in barns for inspection before integration into the herd, executing ADAFSA’s annual vaccination programmes against epidemic diseases, and designating specific areas within the farm for waste and debris collection until proper disposal.