Demand for Animal Products May Double in 20 years

GLOBAL - As the world's population grows, the need to ensure food safety from farms to fork has become a major international concern, with most of the attention focused on livestock. Producer Zulima Palacio talked to some of the world authorities in this field.
calendar icon 17 October 2007
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The world's population is growing at a tremendous pace - adding about 78 million people a year. United Nations estimates show that by the year 2030 more than eight billion people will inhabit the Earth, straining the world's ability to feed itself.

Bernard Vallat is the director of the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE [for Office International des Epizooties] describes the operation. "We know that we have in the coming 10 years, one billion additional meat consumers in China, India and other emerging countries" he said.

"In the following two decades the demand for animal products is going to double and so the supply is going to follow the demand and because of all kind of constraints, this supply of animal products is going to come from developing countries,” said Francois Le Gall.

Francois Le Gall from the World Bank

Le Gall, of the World Bank agrees with Vallat's assessment that only 40 out of about 200 countries in the world have the capacity to respond to a health crisis that originates from animal disease. Two diseases in particular - mad cow and avian flu - have had devastating effects in the last 20 years. Mad cow disease first emerged among cattle in Britain in the mid 1980s, and since then has appeared in other European countries, North America and Asia. It has forced the destruction of large herds, caused huge economic losses and the deaths of about 150 people.

Avian flu, also known as the H5N1 virus, first appeared in 2003, and has forced the slaughter of about 100 million birds in Asia, especially in Vietnam. The human and economic losses have been devastating.

"This is not a new situation, diseases that are coming from animals to humans - it's happened since beginning of humanity. But the reason for the new trends now is the globalization, climate change, mobility of the population, the globalization of animal products, etceteras. Every year we have a new disease and 75 percent of these diseases are of animal origin." Le Gall added.

Source: VOA News

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