The government is focusing on enhancement of management of livestock diseases so that the sector could be more profitable for the country.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mr. Peter Munya observed that farmers incurred losses when their animals contracted certain diseases and the government was putting in place measures that curtailed infections across the country.
He pointed out that the rampant disease transmission and outbreaks were caused by movement of livestock in times of drought or while being transported to the markets.
Speaking while launching a national vaccination program at Isiolo Livestock market where he distributed 700, 000 vaccine doses, the CS said the country had developed measures to be undertaken by stakeholders to eradicate the diseases that threatened livestock population.
“There has been an upsurge in transmission of diseases like foot and mouth from the infested areas to disease free zones through movement of animals due to shortage of pasture and water,” the CS disclosed.
Munya said there was need for devoted control of animal movement in pastoral counties for trade purposes and regretted that during drought, control and management of diseases becomes hard as herders move with animals in search of pastures and water.
He added that the problem was aggravated when some counties failed to implement disease control programmes.
“Enforcement of regulations and by laws meant to control livestock movement by county governments should be enhanced so that we reverse even the trans-boundary disease outbreaks. Vaccination should be improved so that all the animals are covered against diseases,” the CS added.
He cited failure by counties to adhere to existing guidelines on disease control as spelt out in national control strategies and inadequate budgetary allocations towards surveillance and vaccination as a key impediment in disease control.
The CS said that the County governments ought to allocate sufficient funds to the livestock sector if they were serious about getting rid of the drawback to livestock production.
Munya said that the Counties had an obligation to control and manage diseases through prevention of entry of livestock into their pastoral grazing zones without the necessary agreement between counties in order to fight diseases that had been causing significant losses in the country’s livestock industry.
The country has an animal population of 18.8 million cattle (14.3 million beef cattle and 4.5 million dairy cows), 26.7 million goats, 18.9 million sheep, 44.6 million poultry, 3.2 million camels, 500, 000 pigs and 1.9 million donkeys.
Munya, who was accompanied by the ministry’s Chief Administrative Secretary Jebii Kilimo, said control measures would help livestock producers as well as national and county governments in combating frequent disease outbreaks.
He said that the country had not been conducting vaccination as required while counties mandated with the task had not achieved the intended ‘diseases free zone’ results.
The CS appealed to farmers to take care of their animals and ensure that they were healthy at all times as some of the diseases posed direct threat to human health when they spilled over from the animals.
Isiolo Agriculture Executive Lawrence Mwongela said the county had in the past six months vaccinated 340, 000 animals and distributed 2, 000 kgs of grass seeds, 3, 000 bags of range cubes and at least 2, 000 beehives to farmers spread across the county.
Dr. Mwongela said the county has 271, 000 cattle, 854, 000 sheep, 1 million goats, 148, 000 camels, 33, 000 donkeys and 71, 000 poultry.
By David Nduro