The CS says livestock economy risks extinction if counties do not put a commitment to control animal diseases
By Albert Lemomo
Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya flagged off a National Livestock Vaccination Program on Friday in Kajiado County, whereby at least 19 million cattle, 26 million goats, 18 million sheep, and 2.2 million camels are expected to be vaccinated to protect them from the ravaging Foot and Mouth and the Blue tongue diseases.
While addressing livestock farmers at Oloosuyian, Kajiado Central, the CS noted that livestock economy is a key tool among millions of Kenyans and majority of the population depend on the livestock products.
He noted that as per the current statistics an approximate 90 per cent of the population within Arid and Semi-Arid areas depend on livestock products including meat, milk and hides.
“Therefore, there is a need to develop strategies to protect the animals either by controlling the spread of the disease or even completely eradicating them for the benefit of our people and the economy,” said Munya.
According to CS Munya, the spread of the disease poses a great danger on the livestock due to lack of commitments by County governments as well as the neighbouring countries, which might lead to extinction of livestock if not controlled.
He said the diseases are trans-boundaries which has been prompted by movement of herders in search of pasture and water as well as the transportation of the animals for trading purposes that has continued to endanger the livestock in the country.
“The threatening diseases to the livestock in our Country calls for every County Government to roll out frequent vaccination campaigns in order to cushion the farmers from losses of their herds,” said Munya. “We can stop the spread of the diseases to other areas if the vaccine is made available to farmers from time to time to ensure the livestock are disease free,” he added.
The Cabinet Secretary also pledged to support branding of livestock in the Country for easy identification and traceability to curb the insecurity of livestock and cattle rustling which has left herders counting losses from time to time.
“Plans are underway in next financial year 2020/2021 to digitally track our livestock whereby we will tag all animals so that we can easily monitor the movement of our livestock, especially those in high risk cattle rustling zones in West Pokot, Turkana and Baringo Counties among others,” said Munya. “Tagging will end perennial cattle rustling and restore sanity among warring communities,” added the CS.
In her remarks, Kajiado County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Jackline Koin urged her counterparts in the 46 Counties to take proactive measures by frequent vaccination of livestock to contain the diseases.
“We have had a virtual meeting with Agriculture CECs from all the counties and we agreed on a single approach in containing the spread of livestock diseases by ensuring when a County detects an outbreak all other Counties must roll out a vaccination drive,” said Koin. “This approach will eventually lead to a livestock disease free Kenya,” she added.
In an interview with our Reporter, majority of the herders have welcomed the vaccination exercise arguing that the high cost of the vaccine has led to loss of livestock in the past.
“This exercise is a big boost to me since I have three cows already infected by Foot and Mouth disease and today veterinary doctors have attended to them saving me from the high cost of vaccines,” Korash Ole Kikae told our reporter.
In Kajiado County at least 200,000 heads of livestock are expected to be vaccinated within a period of two months.