South Sudan on Thursday launched the state of the art veterinary diagnostic laboratory to boost efforts of commercialization of its livestock estimated at about 40 million in total.
James Janka Duku, minister of livestock and fisheries said the diagnostic laboratory will help them in detection, surveillance and treatment of animal diseases like Rift Valley Fever and the Foot and Mouth Disease which have affected South Sudan since 2017.
“This diagnostic laboratory is classified internationally as level 1 and is equipped to treat tropical livestock diseases in South Sudan,” Duku said in Juba during the launch.
He disclosed that the recent flooding which started in July displacing over 908,000 people in the northern parts of the country also pose danger for livestock and wildlife due to the current outbreak of waterborne diseases.
“Currently we are battling waterborne diseases affecting animals due to flooding,” he said, adding that the laboratory will boost response efforts on disease outbreaks.
South Sudan is implementing 28 livestock development projects in a bid to improve on the quality of the country’s untapped livestock resources and begin export by 2040.
Meshak Malo, country representative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said south Sudan’s livestock wealth is valued at 4 billion U.S. dollars and currently it contributes a paltry 3 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He added that increased support and investment toward agricultural commercialization and in facilities like the diagnostic laboratory could increase productivity and reach the estimated 26 percent contribution to GDP.
“It is small things like the diagnostic laboratory that is going to make South Sudan leapfrog into commercialization of agriculture,” said Malo.
According to Duku, they have already trained 18 technicians and 71 technicians outside the capital with support from development partners to operate the laboratory.
The youngest nation has also an estimated 500,000 tonnes per annum of fish stocks but lacks modern infrastructure like ovens, processing plants and coolers.
South Sudan is seeking post-conflict recovery after more than five years of conflict since December 2013, as the warring parties are currently discussing the critical outstanding issues like determination of the number of states and their boundaries before forming the much-awaited unity government in February 2020. Enditem