The opinion piece by ChileCarne’s President celebrates the recent creation of the Official Biosecurity System by the Ministry of Agriculture because it is necessary to maintain a permanent strategy to protect Chile’s unique competitive advantages for food production thanks to the natural barriers that prevent the entry of diseases.
One of Chile’s competitive advantages for food production is its unique status as an island of biosecurity, with natural barriers that prevent the entry of diseases.
Pork and poultry producers all over the world know how important this is. In recent years, we have been threatened by diseases that have a serious impact on animal production, putting food security at risk.
African swine fever is active in more than 50 countries, mainly in Asia and Europe, and in the Dominican Republic and Haiti since 2022. To date, it has not entered the American mainland and Chile remains disease-free.
The situation is much more dire for poultry. Until 2022, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza was only found in Europe, Asia, and North America; but it has finally hit South America, impacting producers in all countries, including Chile.
What can we do to prevent the entry of these diseases? Is it possible to be better prepared? The answer is clear: yes, it is.
Although Chilean pork and poultry producers and the Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG) have done a great job, we can always do more. Firstly, we need to equip our ports and border crossings with more staff and better technologies to control and inspect cargo and passengers. SAG needs more resources to be able to safeguard Chile’s biosecurity.
Secondly, we must strengthen biosecurity in our farms and facilities and promote a culture of biosecurity at all production levels. A major step was the Ministry of Agriculture’s creation of the Official Biosecurity System in 2023, and now it is time for the system to start doing its job.
Lastly, more and better zoning agreements must be negotiated to control the impact of a potential outbreak on Chile’s exports. The zoning agreement with the US on Avian influenza is worth noting.
We mustn’t let our guard down. Our privileged health and biosecurity status is an asset for all Chileans and we must double down on our efforts to protect it.