MEDIN ZEQIRI1*, HYSEN BYTYQI2, DRINI IMAMI3, YLLI BIÇOKU3
1*Extensionist in Gjilan Municipality, Kosovo and PhD student, Agricultural University of Tirana, Tirana-Albania.
2University of Prishtina, Prishtina- Kosovo
3Agricultural University of Tirana, Tirana-Albania
This is an exploratory study, aiming at assessing farmers’ awareness about food safety standards. We expect that most farmers have limited awareness about national food safety standards, animal diseases and given constraints in institutional framework, and thereby such standards are not met in most cases – this survey provides insight into gaps in awareness and information at farm level looking into different aspects. A questionnaire-based study was conducted to assess the farmers’ general knowledge about animal diseases, as well as preventive farm practices with regard to food safety. A total of 150 dairy farmers, with more than four cows per farm were interviewed. About 87 percent of the respondents do not possess cooling tanks; 44.7 percent of farmers stated that they do not know which is the institution in charge of food safety; 11.3 percent state that they never or rarely use the ear tags; in addition most farmers’ state that they do not know symptoms of the Brucellosis (71.3%) and TBC (68.6%), indicating the low awareness level among farmers about animal diseases and food safety.
General hygienic and disease control practices need to be integrated in the milk production process particularly at the smallholder level. Awareness, teaching and training programs for dairy farmers can improve diseases control in animals and reduce the public health risk of milk-borne zoonosis. Also public and donors support schemes for farmers should be strongly linked to food safety standard implementation.