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Investigating the socio-economic and livelihoods impacts of african swine fever in Timor-Leste: An application of spatial group model building
25/11/21 08:48AM
Berends, J., da Costa Jong, J.B., Cooper, T.L., Dizyee, K., Morais, O., Pereira, A., Smith, D. and Rich, K.M. 2021. /. Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Small-scale pig farming is highly important to the economic and social status of households in Timor-Leste. The presence of an African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in Timor-Leste was confirmed in 2019, a major concern given that around 70% of agricultural households practice pig farming. This research used a virtual spatial group model building process to construct a concept model to better understand the main feedback loops that determine the socio-economic and livelihood impacts of the ASF outbreak. After discussing the interaction of reinforcing and balancing feedback loops in the concept model, potential leverage points for intervention are suggested that could reduce the impacts of ASF within socio-economic spheres. These include building trust between small-scale farmers and veterinary technicians, strengthening government veterinary services, and the provision of credit conditional on biosecurity investments to help restock the industry. This conceptual model serves as a starting point for further research and the future development of a quantitative system dynamics (SD) model which would allow ex-ante scenario-testing of various policy and technical mitigation strategies of ASF outbreaks in Timor-Leste and beyond. Lessons learned from the blended offline/online approach to training and workshop facilitation are also explored in the paper.