The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on Tuesday urged member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African bloc, to harmonize policies and strategies aimed at boosting the fight against livestock diseases.
Joseph Njuguna, FAO national livestock officer said that the east African region requires a common strategy for disease control to enable livestock keepers earn decent incomes.
“Efforts must be made towards the management of threats of transboundary diseases that still abound due to the porous cross borders and the inter-country movement of livestock,” said Njuguna in Nairobi.
He said that members of the bloc are in a position to strengthen the disease information communication system by organizing simultaneous vaccinations in the region.
The UN official called for additional investment in meeting direct costs of disease control, including research and innovation, introduction of thermo-tolerant vaccines to fast track the progress towards total eradication of Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR).
A socio-economic study that was conducted by the Kenyan government and partners in 2016 in six Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) counties revealed the country lost direct economic benefits estimated at 1.46 billion shillings (about 14 million U.S. dollars) annually due to small ruminant diseases.
Njuguna said that Kenya should recognize the economic and food security contribution of the Livestock sector, in line with the national development blueprint.
He said that FAO has refined a Predictive Livestock Early Warning System (PLEWS) tool that can prompt detailed awareness on looming drought. Enditem