Assessment of financial impact of foot and mouth disease on smallholder cattle farmers in southern Cambodia.
The financial impact of an outbreak of FMD in 2010 on 62 smallholder cattle farmers in four villages in southern Cambodia was investigated by a financial impact survey questionnaire. Financial losses associated with FMD infection were severe with variation depending on whether the animal survived or died or was used for draft. The average post-FMD loss varied from USD 216.32, a 54% reduction from the pre-FMD value because of weight loss and treatment costs, to USD 370.54, a 92% reduction from pre-FMD values if the animal was treated, died and a rental draft replacement was required. Partial budget analysis identified a strongly positive incentive for cattle to be vaccinated biannually for FMD, providing USD 31.48 per animal for each animal owned. However low vaccination rates suggest that farmers are mostly unaware of the need or averse to the practice of vaccinating their cattle for FMD. This may be due to poor understanding of preventative disease strategies such as vaccination, unavailable disposable income for purchase of vaccines, and failure to recognize the full costs that are incurred when the disease occurs. Enhancing smallholder cattle productivity through the introduction of forage growing systems has been suggested as a pathway for alleviating rural poverty in the Mekong region. As our financial analysis identified a net benefit of vaccination for smallholder farmer enterprises in an endemic FMD area in Cambodia, it is considered important that farmer education strategies aimed at improving cattle productivity, also include both access to vaccine and training in preventative disease risk management and biosecurity practices in Cambodia.