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Two economic blocs launch a trans-boundary animal disease policy

The North Rift Economic Bloc (NOREB) and Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) have launched their notifiable and trans-boundary animal disease control policy aimed at synchronizing and promoting the fight against livestock diseases.

The policy also aims at enhancing livestock production and animal husbandry across the two economic blocs.

NOREB Chairman, Uasin Gishu Governor, Jackson Mandago, said the livestock sub-sector contributes 30 per cent of the Regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and also accounts for up to 60 per cent direct and indirect employment.

Mandago observed that animal disease control has not received the required attention for long hence the need for concerted effort through relevant policy that will help curb the spread of diseases for the realization of a full-time operationalization of livestock markets across the region.

“We want to assure livestock traders that once the implementation of the policy takes effect, and disease control is effectively implemented, livestock markets will no longer be closed unnecessarily,” added Mandago.

He urged chief officers and directors responsible for veterinary services across the two blocs to embrace high levels of cooperation and information sharing on livestock and pets disease outbreaks across their respective boundaries to facilitate quick response and control.

Mandago, who was flanked by his Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart, Alex Tolgos, added that even as the counties under the blocs strive to enhance synergy, there was need to harmonize budgets for vaccination for a joint roll out of the program.

Governor Tolgos noted that the policy will help resolve the challenges of inadequate funding for livestock vaccination that have exposed livestock farmers to losses from preventable livestock diseases.

Tolgos cited his county as one of those facing challenges providing adequate livestock vaccination due to inadequate funding.

The success of the policy will also go a long way in ensuring proper treatment of worm and fluke infestation that has been a burden for many livestock farmers, causing large productivity losses.

Research indicates that a bad case of roundworm infestation can prevent weight gain, causing a drop in milk yield and even causing death.

The loss of production from these worms can be huge depending on the species of worm and other circumstances, such as the nutrition and age of the animal, anything between one thousand and fifty thousand worms may produce symptoms of diseases.

Biovision Africa Trust Extension Officer, Francis Maina, who has been providing extension services to farmers for over 20 years and is well versed with issues of animal health, recommends that livestock keepers should always ensure they graze young animals on clean pasture and treat them against worms regularly.

Once established in cattle or sheep, each roundworm can produce between five and ten thousand eggs per day, with a heavily infested animal harbouring about 3000 female worms may contaminate a pasture with several million eggs daily for up to 20 consecutive months.

By Kiptanui Cherono

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