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January 22, 2019

Calls for cash to fight goats, sheep disease

Deputy President William Ruto buying goats during the Kimalel Goat Auction in Baringo./FILE
Deputy President William Ruto buying goats during the Kimalel Goat Auction in Baringo./FILE

More than 45 countries have urged development partners to bridge the Sh34 billion funding gap to eradicate Peste des petits ruminants disease.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), also known as ‘goat plague’, is a highly contagious and devastating viral disease responsible for the death of millions of sheep and goats each year. It is characterised by fever, sores in the mouth, diarrhoea and pneumonia.

In July, Kenya launched a Sh6.2 billion national strategy plan to eradicate the disease by 2027.

During the launch, Livestock PS Harry Kimtai said the disease was first reported in Turkana county in 2006, killing 1.2 million animals valued at Sh236 million.

During a global conference organised by FAO, World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the European Union in Brussels last week, countries renewed their commitment to globally eradicate the disease by 2030.

In a statement, Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, said the commitment to tackle animal diseases is also a response to the wider challenges of migration, food security, poverty alleviation, resilience and global trade.

“It is essential to our efforts to provide better jobs and prospects for women and young people in particular,” Mimica said.

FAO director general Graziano da Silva said the financial resources to eradicate PPR are not an expense, but an important investment that will result in future economic and social gains. “Small ruminants are the primary livestock resource of about 300 million poor rural families in developing and emerging countries. If we do not tackle the spread of PPR, the disease will increase poverty, hunger and also other forms of malnutrition. Eradicating PPR is fundamental for building a safer and sustainable world,” he said.

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