“…after the temporary loss of the avian flu-free country status, we are working to resume the commercialization of poultry products with 55 purchasing countries. Of those countries, China, South Africa and Chile stand out.”
Rodolfo Acerbi is the vice-president of the National Service of Health and Agro-Food Quality – Senasa, a veterinarian graduated from the National University of La Plata, and master in International Relations from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences.
Senasa created an action plan against avian flu, aiming to increase sanitary control at the borders and inside the Argentine territory. For this, investments of approximately US$ 4.88 million were made.
AgriBrasilis – What is the role of Senasa? Could you talk about the problem of understaffing?
Rodolfo Acerbi – Senasa must preserve national health conditions, prevent the entry of diseases into Argentina and guarantee the country’s status as a free zone for certain diseases, preserving animal welfare and the health of the population. We work with the private sector, sectorial chambers and farmers.
In agriculture, we work to protect our production against the main pests, such as locusts, the fruit fly (Ceratis capitata), and the grapevine moth (Lobesia botrana), preserving areas free of these pests and guaranteeing the conditions that allow agricultural export.
Concerning animal production, an annual vaccination campaign against foot-and-mouth disease is carried out, for example, that allows us to maintain our status as a disease-free region.
With regard to avian flu, after the detection of the first case in the north of the country, the implementation of a Prevention and Control Plan was ordered, through which Senasa reinforced sanitary control at border crossings and in the rest of the territory.
On the problem of lack of personnel, the National Government has just made an investment of around US$ 4.88 million to reinforce Senasa with the addition of personnel, laboratory inputs, logistics, equipment and infrastructure for border posts.
AgriBrasilis – What health negotiations are underway to open international markets? What markets were opened in 2022?
Rodolfo Acerbi – In 2022, Argentina completed the opening of 69 new markets, in 20 countries, for the export of agrifood products. Emphasis on beef, whose export was authorized to Mexico and Serbia; pistachio to Brazil; FMD vaccines to Indonesia; in addition to bovine genetics to Uzbekistan.
Currently, after the temporary loss of the avian flu free country status, we are working to resume the commercialization of poultry products with 55 purchasing countries, among which China, South Africa and Chile stand out.
AgriBrasilis – What steps have been taken to deal with avian flu? How many cases have been confirmed so far and in which regions?
Rodolfo Acerbi – Senasa declared a health emergency through Resolution No. 147/23. Areas with outbreaks of wild, domestic and industrial birds are being actively observed to identify sick animals and prevent the spread of the disease.
Control and epidemiological surveillance actions were reinforced at all posts bordering Chile, Bolivia and Uruguay. Vehicle disinfection and passenger control is being carried out. Agents specialized in poultry and emergency management from other agencies or regional centers of Senasa were mobilized, and they are being sent to the units located at the borders.
Awareness campaigns are being carried out for early notification; biosafety training on commercial farms; and articulation with other public entities in the surveillance and control of the movement of birds, their products and by-products.
When there is a suspicion of a new case, inspections are carried out in the facilities and conditions of the areas or establishments where the animals were found. On these occasions, a perimeter is delimited around the outbreak site to search and check for dead or symptomatic birds. Neighbors and property owners and provincial environmental authorities are consulted. Checkpoints are established to prevent the entry and exit of sick animals or people who have recently handled them.
Among 300 notifications analyzed by Senasa, 60 cases were confirmed: in backyard birds (49), wild (4) and commercial birds (7), distributed as follows: 18 in Córdoba, 15 in Buenos Aires, 7 in Neuquén, 7 in Santa Fe, 4 in Río Negro, 2 in San Luis, 2 in Chaco, 1 in Jujuy, 1 in Santiago del Estero, 1 in Salta, and 1 in La Pampa.
AgriBrasilis – What is Senasa’s assessment on the suspension of poultry products imports imposed by Japan?
Rodolfo Acerbi – Senasa managed to get Japan to allow the entry of dried eggs from Argentina again, partially resuming exports of poultry products to the country.
A meeting was held with representatives of the Japanese embassy in Argentina, in which a review of the unilateral suspension that the country adopted after learning about the cases of avian flu was requested.