To strengthen Taiwan’s participation in international disease control cooperation and to continue the discussion on important issues from the 2018 Annual Bilateral Meeting between Taiwan and USA on the Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Programs, the Council of Agriculture (COA) organized the 2018 International Symposium on Avian Influenza and Disease Control on October 25 and 26, 2018 at COA’s Livestock Research Institute (LRI). Experts in the field of animal disease control and breeding from USA, Thailand, and Vietnam were invited to deliver keynote speeches on important issues, such as avian influenza surveillance and early warning measures, and diagnosis of avian influenza and epidemic control measures among others at the said symposium. They have also engaged in topic discussions and experience exchange sessions with Taiwan’s top specialists from industry, academic, and research sectors. In addition to strengthening the Taiwan-US scientific cooperation on avian flu monitoring, detection, and early warning measures, the COA also hopes to work together with southeast Asian countries on disease prevention.
The COA stated that due to the proportion and value of our country’s annual animal husbandry production (NT$160 billion, which takes up 1/3 of the entire agricultural production value, whereas the poultry industry contributes NT$74 billion), the avian flu epidemic prevention and control has an enormous influence on our nation’s agricultural production capability. In April of 2018 the COA sent a delegation led by its Director General Dr. Chang Chih-sheng, to attend the 2018 Annual Bilateral Meeting between Taiwan and USA on the Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Programs. The delegation presented an update on the current progress of the Taiwan-US cooperative project “Research on Avian Influenza Diagnosis and Control Techniques”, and exchanged information with animal disease prevention experts of the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) whom agreed to come to Taiwan and share their experiences. This then led to the organization of the abovementioned symposium, which saw the participation of 3 ARS Senior National Program Leaders, 2 renowned University of Maryland scholars, and officials from Thailand’s Department of Livestock Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, as well as officials from Vietnam’s Department of Livestock Production.
The COA pointed out that in order to give participating foreign experts a better understanding of current situation of Taiwan’s poultry industry and avian flu control, the Council arranged pre-symposium field visits on Oct. 23 and 24. The group paid a visit to the Animal Health Research Institute (AHRI) on Oct. 23 after participating in a profound conversation session on Prevention and Control of Avian Influenza and Other Transboundary Animal Diseases presided over by COA Deputy Minister Huang Jin-cheng. On Oct. 24 the group visited Yuan Jin Chuang Poultry Farm in Yunlin County, National Chiayi University’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Center, and Tainan City’s Animal Health Inspection and Protection Office. The COA believes that through this field visit, Taiwan’s avian flu prevention and control measures would be even more complete and prolonged thanks to the experience sharing and guidance from these foreign experts and scholars.