The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched an action-oriented, country-focused initiative to reduce the need for antimicrobials on farms.

It comes amid the growing threat posed by antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the food and agriculture sector, impacting animal health, plants and the environment and causing significant economic losses to farmers across the globe.

FAO director-general QU Dongyu said: “The persistent use of antimicrobials in livestock production is concerning for human health, animal welfare, and environmental sustainability.

“We must explore innovative pathways to curb the use of antimicrobials and promote sustainable practices that safeguard public health and our planet’s well-being, while improving livestock productivity.

Policy support to reduce antimicrobials

The RENOFARM initiative aims to provide countries with policy support, technical assistance, capacity building, and knowledge sharing.

This is aimed at helping reduce the need for antimicrobials in livestock production, prioritising animal health and welfare, mitigating environmental impact, and enhancing food security and nutrition.

Working together with governments, farmers, private sector and civil society organisations and other actors, it will promote the ‘5 Gs’ at the farm level.

These are: Good Health Services; Good Production Practices; Good Alternatives; Good Connections; and Good Incentives.

FAO’s goal is to implement the initiative in more than 100 countries.


RENOFARM is already being piloted in the poultry sector in Indonesia’s Lampung province with the support of government agencies and other local stakeholders.

Other pilots are underway in Uganda and Nigeria.

In Indonesia, a Farmers’ Field School (FFS), focusing on empowering farmers at the community level, is being set up under the project to build farmers’ capacity and awareness on AMR control.

Training materials are updated based on local experience and best practices with 20 facilitators trained and the concepts trialled with around 20 local poultry farmers.

A focus group discussion held as part of the initiative showed that broiler chicken farms in Lampung Province have experienced improvements in livestock management practices, with the transition to a semi-closed cage system.

This has had a positive impact on biosecurity practices and efforts to reduce antimicrobial use.

However, antibiotic programmes for chicks are still being carried out due to concerns about the quality of chicks and farmer discipline regarding biosecurity.

Actionable steps

At the end of September, FAO will also host the first-ever Global Conference on Animal Health Innovation, Reference Centres and Vaccines.

Its aim will be to share insights, exchange experiences and identify concrete actions to improve animal health, combat antimicrobial resistance and promote sustainable livestock transformation.

AMR is a global threat to humans, animals, plants, and the environment, according to the FAO.

Reducing the need for antimicrobials and limiting the emergence of resistant pathogens is critical to maintaining the world’s ability to treat human, animal and plant diseases, reduce food safety and security risks and protect the environment.