The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) has donated 140, 000 vaccine doses of Contagious Caprine PleuroPnuemonia (CCPP) to be distributed to small-scale farmers in the fight against pneumonia in goats.
The donation comes at a time when goat and sheep farmers have been caught by surprise by the widespread prevalence of severe serofibrinous pleuropneumonia, accelerated by the dry weather and causing hundreds of flock deaths across the dry lowlands of Taita Taveta County.
“We are aware of the spread of the Contagious Caprine PleuroPnuemonia, particularly among goats, and that is why we undertook the research to come up with a vaccine to save our farmers from further losses of their flocks,” said Dr. Martin Mwirigi, a Biotechnology Research Scientist with KALRO.
According to Mwirigi, CCPP has a morbidity of 100 percent and a mortality of between 80 and 100 percent and can be devastating once it gets into flocks as it can easily be transmitted from goat to goat as well as other ruminants such as sheep.
“Looking at this goat disease, it is easily spread and can become a menace if not controlled and stopped from the onset,” said Mwirigi.
The scientist further added that KALRO is working closely with the national government to expedite the vaccination exercise as well as launch a project to encourage the use of probiotics for better nutrition and high productivity in livestock.
“We’re working hand in hand with the national government to accelerate the pace of vaccination as well as launch a project on the use of probiotics to improve animal nutrition and increase productivity,” said Mwirigi.
Acting County Executive Committee Member(CECM) for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Irrigation Grantone Mwandawiro supported the vaccination drive saying his department was currently undertaking a livestock inventory exercise within the county for better control and management of stock, and prevention of diseases.
“We are in total support of the vaccination drive and indeed we’re working on a livestock inventory for the county to be in a better position to control, manage our animal stock and prevent diseases,” said Mwandawiro.
From past livestock records, the county has approximately 386,000 goats and 51,000 sheep; a stock that has continued to take a beating from the ongoing drought due to climate change leading to scarcity of pasture, water, and rampant spread of diseases.
Currently, the national government is working through state departments and agencies in collaboration with coastal counties under the umbrella of Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani to address the effects of climate change, build community resilience by instilling smart agricultural practices, training and empowerment of the public on diversification of marketable skills and economic activities.
By Arnold Linga Masila