A new action plan to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been published by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) ahead of next week’s high-level UN discussion of the issue in New York.
The new plan includes an acceptance of the fact the antimicrobial medicines play a critical role in the treatment of diseases of farm animals and plants, with such usage being deemed “essential” for global food security, the well-being of people and for animal welfare.
“However, the misuse of these drugs, associated with the emergence and spread of antimicrobial-resistant micro-organisms, places everyone at great risk,” said FAO, adding that it believes good farm hygiene and animal health practices can greatly reduce the need to use antimicrobial medicines.
In line with this view, the new plan highlights four key areas for action in the food and agriculture sphere:
- Improving awareness of AMR issues among farmers and producers, veterinary professionals and authorities, policymakers, and food consumers
- Building national capacities for surveillance and monitoring of AMR and antimicrobial use (AMU) in food and agriculture
- Strengthening governance related to AMU and AMR in food and agriculture
- Promoting good practices in food and agricultural systems and the prudent use of antimicrobials
FAO also said that it is aiming to help governments put in place national strategies for tackling AMR and AMU in their food and agricultural sectors by mid-2017.