Foot-and-Mouth Disease Outbreak in Indonesia

The cattle market in Indonesia is in disturbance due to the fast-spreading mouth and foot disease (FMD) outbreak. This disease in fact attacks a lot of livestock ranging from cattle, buffaloes to sheep or goats and is classified as an acute disease that spreads through viral infections and is easily contagious. It is widely considered to be the most economically damaging livestock disease in the world.

Foot-and-Mouth Disease

This FMD first entered Indonesia in 1887 and the last outbreak in 1983 was successfully eradicated through a mass vaccination program. Indonesia was declared as a country free of FMD until 1986. The latest case was found in April 2022 in Gresik, East Java where the cattle experienced clinical symptoms in the form of decreased appetite, hypersalivation, limping and fever. As of July 2022, FMD outbreaks has been detected in 20 provinces and 227 districts or cities where 313,636 cattle have been infected.  The cause of the outbreaks is strongly assumed due to the entry of imported cattle from the countries that are not FMD-free.

On the positive side, FMD is not a disease that infects humans, and meat and milk from infected livestock are considered safe for consumption (even though this situation might affect the community health in long term). Even though not zoonotic, this FMD outbreak is very detrimental to farmers and has a wide impact on farmers' livelihoods and the national economy.

The price of cattle in the FMD outbreak area fell 20-60%. However, the opposite condition actually occurs in marketing areas such as Greater Jakarta. The price of cattle has increased compared to last year, which is between 10% - 20% due to a shrinking supply of animals. Meanwhile, other losses borne by farmers is a decrease in milk production of dairy cows. According to The Chairman of the Indonesian Cattle and Buffalo Breeders Association (PPSKI), the productivity of dairy cattle is currently down to 80% nationally.

Even though there is no report yet on the economic impact of FMD outbreak, an analysis from The Expert Board of the Indonesian Cattle and Buffalo Breeders Association (PPSKI) estimates the potential loss from the current outbreak at $1.37 billion per year. Another analysis from International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) mentioned that the potential economic loss due to the FMD outbreak is around Rp. 9.9 trillion/USD 6.6 billion per year due to production declines, livestock mortality rates, as well as bans on material exports, and restrictive policies that may be imposed. The restrictive policies imposed on cattle exported from Indonesia can have a domino effect on other economic sectors.

FMD ripple effects can also occur at a broader level across the livestock value chain, including costs associated with compensation, surveillance, vaccination, and outbreak control management. FMD can also disrupt growth in food and beverage, tourism, animal feed, and agricultural support industries.

The central and local governments are aware of the emergence of FMD outbreaks and have taken steps to contain its spread. The Ministry of Agriculture has decided to form a task force for FMD handling. The establishment of this task force is to mitigate disease risks, animal health and environmental risks and their impact on economic, social and cultural aspects. The government has set the total vaccine needed for surgery at around 30 million doses to be distributed across Indonesia.

The ministry also led the technical operations of FMD in the country and launched a national campaign for large-scale disinfection spraying targeting livestock pens, abattoirs and animal markets. In addition, the authorities have also set aside a portion of the National Economic Recovery to overcome FMD.

The task force is expected to be able to implement all efforts so that the FMD outbreak can be immediately controlled. This is very urgent and important considering that people's high consumption of animal protein from cattle and livestock is one of the livelihoods of farmers. In addition, to revive Indonesia in contributing to the global livestock trade.