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«Polly Smith, Nancy Bourgeois Lüthi, Li Huachun, Kyaw Naing Oo, Aloun Phonvisay, Sith Premashthira, Ronello Abila, Phillip Widders, Karan Kukreja and ...»

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Movement pathways and market chains

of large ruminants in the Greater

Mekong Sub-region


Polly Smith, Nancy Bourgeois Lüthi, Li Huachun, Kyaw Naing Oo,

Aloun Phonvisay, Sith Premashthira, Ronello Abila, Phillip Widders,

Karan Kukreja and Corissa Miller


Table of Contents

Executive Summary




Snowball sampling

Interview technique




Movement pathways

Regulatory information


Movement pathways

Regulatory information


Movement pathways


Movement pathways

Regulatory information


Movement pathways

Viettel’s “cattle for the poor programme”

Overview of large ruminant trade pathways in the GMS.

Price information

Recent changes in large ruminant trade in the GMS









List of Appendices Appendix 1 Checklist for the semi-structured interview

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LBVD Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department (Myanmar) CASRAD Centre for Agrarian Systems Research and Development

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i Executive Summary A study on movement pathways and market chains of large ruminants in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) was conducted for the purpose of updating information about livestock movement in the region, with a focus on those movements destined for China. Since a previous study was conducted in 2009 (Cocks et al., 2009), the demand for beef in China has risen sharply. The current study was conducted to review movement pathways for large ruminants in the region in light of the changing market situation.

It is intended that the results of this study be used to inform decisions on measures aimed at reducing the risk of spreading Foot and mouth disease (FMD), and other transboundary animal diseases, through trade related movement of large ruminants.

The field data collection for the study was conducted by consultants in each of the five participating countries: China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. These countries were selected as they all lie on the pathway of livestock movement destined for China, with some sharing extensive land borders.

A methodology known as snowball sampling was applied for selecting participants for the study, and interviews conducted using a checklist and semi-structured interview technique. In some situations, these methods were modified to fit into the timeframe of the study or to allow for differences in data collection in the various country settings. In some cases, a snowball sampling approach was used to select areas to visit and then convenience sampling used to select interviewees within those areas.

The results of the study indicate significant and recent changes in the movement pathways of large ruminants in the region, with a notable shift towards strong markets in China. Information collected during this study indicates movement of almost one million head of large ruminants into China from neighbouring countries each year.

An important outcome of the study is identification of new sources of livestock entering the region, with reported movement of large ruminants from India and Bangladesh to Myanmar and Thailand.

There is also reports of increasing numbers of cattle being imported from Australia into Vietnam and Malaysia.

Thailand and Lao PDR play an important role in the transit movements of livestock destined for China and, to a lesser extent, Vietnam. Vietnam is an important market for large ruminants in its own right, and is also a transit country for animals moving from Thailand, destined for China. In Vietnam, local cattle as well as livestock from Thailand and Australia are predominantly used to satisfy local beef demands. Many cattle and buffalo move through Vietnam towards Guangxi Province in China.

The vast majority of cross-border animal movement within the region continues to occur unofficially.

There is some official movement, such as transit movements through southern Provinces of Lao PDR, and importation of cattle for slaughter in Vietnam (from Thailand and from Australia). Thailand operates a system whereby livestock which enter Thailand from Myanmar unofficially are then taken into an official system in which they are quarantined, vaccinated against FMD, provided with import documentation and ear tagged before they are permitted to move further within the country.

Livestock markets continue to be important components in the movement pathway of livestock across the region. The key markets identified during this study as important areas for gathering and mixing of livestock were: Photong Market in Tak Province, Thailand through which the majority of cattle move after entering Thailand from Myanmar; Tra Linh assembly market in Cao Bang Province, Vietnam

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An important change in the market chain of livestock in the region is the increasing presence of Chinese traders operating in the region and visiting neighbouring countries (particularly Thailand and Vietnam) to select livestock before transportation to China. Most of the market chains described during the study involved large scale traders organising cross border movement of livestock, and employment of local people, middlemen or agents to help source and move animals from place to place. The ownership of the animals tend to remain with the large scale traders from each country.

Comparison of the results of this study with results of previous livestock movement studies in the region indicated that there have been significant increases in price of livestock in the region in recent years and that several new pathways of livestock movements have developed.

The study concludes that there is extensive movement of livestock throughout the GMS, with large ruminants being transported vast distances and crossing country boundaries. This emphasises the importance of whole-of-region disease control programs and the need for improved regulation of livestock movements in the region. There should be a focus on improving the health status, and certifying the health status of transported livestock in order to reduce the risk of FMD being transmitted through trade movements of livestock. The importance of working in consultation with traders and other stakeholders in developing these regulations will be important to optimise support for any new regulations.

Purpose The purpose of this study is to identify the major movement pathways and market chains of large ruminants in the GMS, with particular focus on cross border movement destined for China. It is intended that the results of this study be used to identify key points in the trading pathways where control measures may be targeted to reduce the risk of FMD being transmitted along the pathways of large ruminant trade in the region.

The information gathered during this study will also be compared to the results from a similar study funded by OIE and FAO in 2009 and conducted in Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam (Cocks et al., 2009).

This will highlight any major changes in the movement pathways in recent years.

Background Livestock movements are known to be a major factor in the spread of transboundary animal diseases, including FMD. In much of South-East Asia, where there are extensive land boundaries between countries and where demand and price differentials exist across those boundaries, cross-border movement of livestock is extensive. A number of studies have been conducted in South-East Asia in recent years in order to better understand the movement of livestock in the region (Cocks et al., 2008;

Cocks et al., 2009; ACIAR, 2011). The results of these studies have highlighted the dynamic nature of livestock trade in the region and, therefore, the need to conduct further surveys periodically to review livestock movement pathways. This will be particularly useful in assessing the effectiveness of any measures that are implemented in order to better manage the disease risks associated with the trade.

Gleeson, 2002, stated that the distribution and movement of FMD viruses in South-East Asia is a reflection of the trade driven movement of livestock. As FMD continues to occur across much of the

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Given that there are several days between an animal becoming infected with FMD and displaying clinical signs of disease, it is possible for an infected animal to pass through a number of market areas, contact many susceptible animals and even cross country boundaries before it displays clinical signs of disease. Therefore, where countries rely only on clinical examination for detecting disease, or where cross-border movement of livestock occurs unofficially and without regulation, there is a risk of FMD being transmitted between countries.

With an increasing population, continued economic development and dietary transition towards a more meat-rich diet in China (Hansen and Gale, 2014), the rise in demand for beef is set to continue.

The high demand for beef in the region, and its consequently high value, continues to drive movement of livestock towards China from throughout the region. At present, much of the movement destined for China is unregulated with livestock moving unofficially across country boundaries. The results of this study should be used to inform organisations working in the region, policy makers and other stakeholders of the situation as it exists today and therefore, assist them in considering measures aimed at reducing the risk of disease transmission through movement of livestock.

Methodology The methodology used for this study was based on that applied to a previous, similar study in the region (Cocks et al., 2009). The methodology is based on a non-probability sampling method known as snowball sampling (described in detail below) and use of semi-structured interview techniques.

A planning meeting for the study was held in January, 2015, during which the SEACFMD Campaign Coordinator, other staff from the OIE Sub Regional Representation for South-East Asia (OIE SRR SEA) and the regional consultant for this study briefed the national consultants from each of the participating countries on: the methodology to be used for the study; the information to be collected using a semi-structured interview technique; and the results of a previous study conducted in the region. During this meeting, the national consultants were given an opportunity to provide feedback on the content of the semi-structured interview checklist such that it could be adjusted to suit the needs of the participating countries. The checklist resulting from this workshop is provided in Appendix 1.

A key outcome of the planning meeting was agreement on the study sites to be included in this study.

The criteria for selecting these sites was that they should lie within known or suspected pathways of livestock trade destined for China. Some of the sites were selected based on results from previous studies, others on more recent information provided by the national consultants during the planning meeting, and others were identified after the study had commenced. The study sites selected are shown in Table 1.

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Snowball sampling Snowball sampling is a non-probability sampling method whereby interviewed respondents are asked to provide details of other respondents: One subject gives the researcher the name of another subject, who in turn provides the name of a third, and so on (Vogt, 1999). In this way, snowball sampling can be used for reaching hidden, or hard to reach, populations. Snowball sampling has been applied in studies where it is difficult to identify the target population due to sensitivity of the issue being researched (Fitchenberg et al., 2009; Dumchev et al., 2009) or where the whole population cannot be identified, thus precluding the use of random sampling techniques.

In South-East Asia and China, much of the livestock trade activity is unofficial and therefore, by its nature, there is little centralised information relating to cross border movement of large ruminants or the stakeholders involved. Therefore, snowball sampling was considered to be a useful approach to identifying individuals operating within the trade, where only a small number of individuals could be identified from the outset.

Snowball sampling is also suited to this type of study given that it is useful for collecting relational data (i.e. how different stakeholders or geographical areas are linked to one another through livestock movements) and can be used where an incomplete sampling frame exists. In order to use snowball sampling it is first necessary to identify starting points which, in this case, are stakeholders known to 4 lie within the trading network of interest. These include: known/registered traders, slaughterhouses, livestock market owners, etc. These ‘starting point’ individuals are then interviewed using a semi structured interview technique to gather information, including: where and from whom they buy animals; where and to whom they sell animals; the nature of their involvement in livestock trade; and pricing information. The responses provided during these interviews are then used to select subsequent interviewees (figure 1).

Figure 1: A flowchart showing sample selection of the initial respondents and then how these initial respondents elect secondary respondents, and so on, using Snowball Sampling methodology (Cocks et al., 2009) In theory, this process allows the researcher to identify whole networks of livestock traders from just a small number of traders identified initially. However, in practice it is not always possible to obtain specific information such as names and exact locations of traders, due to the sensitive nature of cross border trade. This process can also generate massive numbers of secondary respondents, who may be located far away from each other, making follow up visits and interviews difficult within the limited timeframe of the study. In order to overcome these constraints, the methodology was modified such that more general geographical details of animal movements and types of traders were gathered.

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