Africa / Animal Diseases / Animal Health / Disease Control / East Africa / Kenya / Middle East / North Africa / RVF / Somalia / Tanzania / Trade / Value Chains

Economic losses from Rift Valley fever greater than previous documented

‘Kenya’s livestock farmers were hardest hit as a result of the death of their animals from the Rift Valley fever disease outbreak in 2006/2007, with total economic losses from livestock deaths valued at over 7.6 million US dollars, researchers revealed.

‘According to the researchers at the Market Opportunities Theme of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) reveals, these losses had negative spin-off effects on household food security and future income. They say the traders and slaughterhouses were affected by movement bans on livestock and decreased consumer demand for meat which greatly affected sales of live animals and meat products.

‘”Several slaughterhouses and butcheries were forced to close for up to three months until the ban was lifted,” the lead researcher Karl Rich says while releasing the findings that were conducted in Garissa and Ijara districts. He notes that the a significant number of people who indirectly depend on the slaughterhouses for their livelihoods like people involved in tea sales and cart transport of meat were also negatively impacted as a result of the closure.

‘These impacts included production impacts, employment losses (particularly for casual labor), “The idling of the Garissa and Mwingi slaughterhouses resulted in economic losses of U.S. $2,360 dollars and U.S. $660 dollars per month, respectively,” the authors note.

‘At the national level, the study estimates that the Rift Valley fever outbreak led to a U.S. $26 million loss to the Kenyan economy, with most of the impacts being felt in the livestock sector. However, non-agricultural sectors such as transportation, petroleum, trade and chemical shops also experienced economic losses.

‘”The socio-economic analysis of animal diseases often overlooks the multiplicity of stakeholders that are affected, hence calling for the need for analysis to adequately capture the diverse impacts of animal diseases instead of focusing just on the producer-level impacts,” Francis Wanyoike, the co researcher observes. He cautions that failure to capture these diverse impacts may have important implications on the evolution and control of disease that may accentuate its impact. . . .’

Read the whole news article at Coast Week: Rift Valley fever is to blame for poverty in northeastern Kenya, 8–14 October 2010.

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