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Government unveils Sh6.2b plan to fight livestock diseases

The Ministry of Agriculture, through the State Department for Livestock, has launched a Sh6.2 billion plan aimed at eradicating Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), a viral disease affecting sheep and goats.

The National Strategy for the Control and Eradication of PPR 2017-2027 plan unveiled last week is advocating for progressive control and eradication of the disease by 2027.

Speaking during the launch, Livestock Principal Secretary, Harry Kimtai said the disease, which is also known as sheep and goat plague, is a highly contagious and also affects small ruminants including some wildlife species.  Once it is introduced or has invaded   a locality, it could infect up to 90 per cent of animals.

Worse, the disease kills anywhere from 30 to 70 per cent of infected animals, according to Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).  In Kenya, the disease was first detected in 2006 in Turkana county.

Even though State mounted a vaccination campaign to  help control the disease, it spread in most of arid and semi-arid areas. The plaque  killed 1.2 million animals valued at an estimated Sh236 million.

During the launch, Kimtai commissioned a team that will oversee the implementation of the strategy, saying PPR is a threat to food security and a hindrance towards the realisation of the Big Four agenda.

 “Our vision is to win the battle against PPR by 2027.However,  combating the disease requires a multisectoral approach from both public and private sectors. We urge animal production stakeholders to join hands in eliminating the disease,” Kimtai.

FAO says PPR was first described in 1942 in Côte d’Ivoire. Since then, the disease has spread to large regions in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Today, more than 70 countries have confirmed PPR within their borders, and many countries are at risk of the disease being introduced. These regions are home to approximately 1.7 billion heads – roughly 80 per cent – of the global population of sheep and goats.

Apart from FAO, other development partners supporting the campaign include the European Union (EU), African Union-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and Igad Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD).

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