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Foot & mouth disease outbreak worries livestock farmers

Livestock farmers in Kwanza Constituency of Trans Nzoia County are a worried lot following an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

Speaking to KNA Monday morning John Komen, a dairy farmer in Kapsitwet area, said seven mature cows and three calves in his herd have been infected.

“I am a very worried man because these ten cows can neither move nor eat because they are very sick. I don’t want to imagine losing them,” Komen said.

Komen said despite reporting the matter to the Ministry of Agriculture in the county, no action has so far been taken.

“It is now three weeks since our veterinary officer took samples from our herd and the results turned positive. After that nothing has been done, we have been neglected,” he added.

Alfred Kigen, a large-scale dairy farmer, said if the government does not intervene, he is likely to lose 40 head of cattle. “Thirty-four mature head of cattle and six calves are sick. It is very sad that we are staring at a disaster not knowing what to do,” he lamented.

Kigen said farmers in the region have resorted to locally available means in an attempt to save the lives of the animals.

“Because of the desperate situation, we have resorted to desperate means, we are now using busaa, baking powder, and magadi soda because the government has turned a blind eye to the situation,” Kigen added.

Anthony Barasa, a dorper-breed sheep farmer, appealed to Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya’s administration to intervene to avert looming losses.

According to Job Sang’, the chairperson of Ogilgei Kapsitwet Dairy Cooperative Society, the disease has affected milk production in the area.

“A sick cow cannot produce milk. We normally receive 5,000 litres from our dairy farmers but this has dropped significantly,” Sang’ revealed.

However, the county government dismissed the farmers’ claims saying it’s doing everything possible to contain the disease.

Mary Nzomo, the Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives County Executive Committee Member, said the department had taken necessary action including imposing a quarantine to curb the spread of the disease.

“We have taken action as a department and our staff are on the ground advising farmers. The first line of action we took was to impose a quarantine three weeks ago when the cases were reported,” Nzomo stated.

She revealed that her department will soon vaccinate all the animals that have not been infected. “We are trying to obtain vaccines to vaccinate animals which are not sick to boost their immunity,” she added.

By Kosuri Valarie

 

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