Breeding fish and poultry is very potential to alleviate poverty in rural areas. Currently, poverty tends to affect the rural population more than urban one. "Livestock is a big asset for the poor. Therefore, the government should foresee the other potential besides to give cattle aid," said Dean of Faculty of Veterinary Medicine UGM, Prof. Dr. drh. Bambang Sumiarto, M.Sc., in a panel discussion entitled Strengthening Basic Animal Health Systems and Veterinary Society System in Indonesia, on Saturday (18/9), in the Auditoirium.
Bambang said that the poverty rate is quite high, approximately 40 million people or 16.82 percent of the country population. To overcome this, livestock development based on local resources perceived to be very important to meet animal food need and improve the welfare of farmers. "The program of poverty reduction through livestock sector is very important. At the very least, it helps reduce the percentage of poverty," he said.
Bambang said that the optimization of animal breeding programs is expected to support the government's target to achieve meat self-sufficiency in 2014. Nevertheless, he is still concerned the program would be difficult to be implemented when the funds are still very scarce.
Meanwhile, Inspector IV of Inspectorate General Ministry of Agriculture, drh. Prabowo Respatiyo Caturroso, said that about 60.45% of the population make a living in the agricultural sector, including livestock breeding. If the agricultural potential is optimized, it is possible that Indonesia would become the mainstay of the world in food procurement. However, as a country with large population, Indonesia 's level of purchasing ability is still very low. As a result, there is the risk of national food insecurity that can disrupt national security and stability. "We still depend on imports of some food commodities, especially large livestock and meat, which is very risky to economic and political life, and national security," he added.
Furthermore, Prof. drh. Soeripto of the Central Veterinary Research, Bogor, highlights more on national animal health system optimization through services, prevention, treatment, and control of animal diseases. According to Prof. Soeripto, the implementation of effective national animal health system is expected to anticipate the outbreaks of animal diseases and transmission to humans (zoonoses). He mentioned several zoonotic diseases that currently continue to threaten human health, such as brucellosis, rabies, Avian Influenza, and hydatid disease. "The handling of infectious disease outbreaks can be managed properly, involving a variety of institutions, experts, and other disciplines," he explained.
The discussions to celebrate the 64th years of the UGM Faculty of Veterinary Medicine also presented several other speakers, among them drh. Djoko Pranowo, drh. Setyawan Budiharta, drh. Ronny Wudigdo, drh. Sri Dadi Wiryosuhanto, and drh. Budi Tri Akoso.