The national government has started vaccinating livestock around Ruma National Game Park to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases.
The Agriculture ministry, through the Kenya Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Council (KENTTEC), vaccinated more than 60,000 head of cattle against nagana.
Nagana affects antelope, cattle and other livestock. It is transmitted by the tsetse fly.
The tsetse-fly emergency eradication drive is being undertaken in Lambwe Valley under which constituencies like Suba North, Ndhiwa and Suba South fall. The area is in Homa Bay county.
Tsetse fly dies on landing on the skin of a sprayed animal.
Under the drive, the tsetse flies are also trapped using special devices placed in bushes.
Present during the programme launch at Ogando in Suba North on Friday were Agriculture ministry’s Jane Otado, Kenttec chief executive Pamela Olet, Ndhiwa MP Martin Owino, Homa Bay county secretary Isaiah Ogwe, Agriculture executive Aguko Juma and county commissioner Irungu Macharia.
The group handed over spraying pumps, syringes and chemicals to farmers. Homa Bay extension officers have been incorporated in fighting tsetse flies.
Otado said the exercise will continue until all livestock are vaccinated.
“The government is committed to creating an enabling environment for livestock farmers,” Otado said.
Olet said the drive would protect wild animals at the game park and promote tourism.
She urged stakeholders to join hands in combating tsetse fly infestation the vector kills livestock, wild animals and jeopardises economic growth.
“The economic development of this area depends on agriculture. Let’s work together to support the programme,” Olet said.
Owino said low funding had affected the fight against the tsetse fly in the county.
“Death of cattle is a serious economic drawback for many farmers who rely on them in cultivating land for crop production. I appeal for sustainability of the project through funding to help local farmers,” he said.
Ogwe said the Homa Bay government would spent Sh5 million to boost livestock production.
“The money will be spent on buying drugs to be distributed to farmers free of charge,” Ogwe said.