​A Systems Approach to Agricultural Biosecurity

Anand Manish
Health Security, Vo 16(1): 58-68p.

This article highlights the importance of systems approaches in addressing agricultural biosecurity threats. On the basis of documentary analysis and stakeholder interaction, a brief survey of agricultural biosecurity threats and vulnerabilities

from global and Indian perspectives is provided, followed by an exploration of technological and institutional capabilities. Finally, a perspective on the agricultural disease diagnostic networks is provided, drawing instances from global

developments. Technical barriers to agroterrorism are lower than those to human-targeted bioterrorism, and the sector is unique as even a very small disease outbreak could prompt international export restrictions. Key vulnerabilities in the

agriculture sector stem from, among others, the structure of agricultural production; insufficient monitoring, surveillance, and controls systems at the borders and in the food chain; inefficient systems for reporting unusual occurrences and

outbreaks of disease; and lack of sufficiently trained human resources capable of recognizing or treating transboundary pathogens and diseases. An assessment of technology and institutions pertaining to crop and animal protection management

suggests certain gaps. Investment in developing new technologies for civilian application in agriculture, as well as for legitimate actions pertaining to defense, detection, protection, and prophylaxis, and in upgrading laboratory facilities

can increase the agricultural sector’s level of preparedness for outbreaks. To address potential threats and vulnerabilities of agroterrorism effectively requires the development of a comprehensive strategy and a combined, interagency approach,

ideally on an international level. It is proposed that a systems-oriented approach for developing knowledge and innovation networks and strengthening skills and capacities would enable a more resilient agricultural biosecurity system.​

Agricultural biosecurity
Agricultural disease
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