GLOBAL – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has debuted a comprehensive 10-year endeavor aimed at addressing the escalating public health threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Dubbed “Reduce the Need for Antimicrobials on Farms for Sustainable Agrifood Systems Transformation (RENOFARM)” the initiative seeks to provide countries with policy support and technical assistance while fostering capacity-building and knowledge-sharing to minimize the reliance on antibiotics in livestock production.

This initiative aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 and aims to promote sustainable agrifood systems.

At the core of RENOFARM lies the promotion of the “5 Gs” at the farm level: Good Health Services, Good Production Practices, Good Alternatives, Good Connections, and Good Incentives. By working closely with governments, farmers, the private sector, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders, FAO aims to facilitate holistic solutions to combat AMR.

FAO will collaborate with its One Health Quadripartite partners—the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Environment Program (UNEP), and the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH)—to ensure the success of RENOFARM.

The launch of RENOFARM coincided with the International Symposium on Pathways to Reduce the Need for Antimicrobials to Support Sustainable Livestock Transformation, held in Rongchang, Chongqing, China.

Over 200 experts convened to strategize actionable steps and commitments for the initiative ahead of key UN meetings on AMR later in 2024.

Progress in Pilot Countries

Initially piloted in Indonesia, Uganda, and Nigeria, RENOFARM is poised for expansion to over 100 countries worldwide.

In Indonesia, RENOFARM has initiated pilot programs in the poultry sector in Lampung province, focusing on capacity-building and awareness-raising among local farmers.

Early results indicate positive changes in livestock management practices, including the adoption of semi-closed cage systems to enhance biosecurity and reduce antimicrobial use.

Global menace

Antimicrobial resistance, often referred to as a “silent killer,” claims approximately 1.27 million lives each year globally.

This has necessitated action from various players globally, with FAO taking a lead role through the Quadripartite collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH).

In February, FAO released its first-ever report on AMR, which outlines a wide range of activities undertaken by the organization at global, regional and country level.

As part of these activities, the organization launched an online course on AMR last year through its FAO eLearning Academy.

This English-language course encompasses crucial topics, including the fundamental principles of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) emergence and spread in agrifood systems, the profound relevance and impact of AMR in the food and agriculture sector, and the pivotal roles played by various stakeholders, such as governments, farmers, animal health professionals, industry representatives, in AMR mitigation efforts.

Additionally, it offers valuable insights into the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)’s role and ongoing initiatives to combat AMR, including the FAO Action Plan on AMR for 2021–2025.

In the same year, the UK pledged £210 million (U.S$266 million) in funding from the UK aid budget to combat the growing threat.

The USDA also unveiled a strategy identifying three key focus areas and ten priorities for concerted action against AMR.

The first focus area centers on reducing disease and pathogen transmission, emphasizing the critical role of prevention in mitigating AMR risk.

The second area concentrates on advancing the scientific knowledge base on AMR risk, highlighting the importance of research in combating the evolution of resistance.

The third area underscores the need for improved communication and collaboration at local, national, regional, and global levels to address the multifaceted challenges AMR poses.

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