October 31, 2019


FAO urges East African countries to streamline actions against livestock diseases



On October 29, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has called upon member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African bloc, to harmonise policies and strategies aimed at boosting the fight against livestock diseases, News Ghana reported.


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 organising 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 KSh1.46 billion (about US$14 million) annually due to small ruminant diseases.


Njuguna said that Kenya should recognise the economic and food security contribution of the livestock sector, in line with the national development blueprint.


He also said that FAO has refined a Predictive Livestock Early Warning System (PLEWS) tool that can prompt detailed awareness on looming drought.


- News Ghana