Faith Kivuti with her mother milking a cow in Kenya (photo on Flickr by Jeff Haskins).
A vaccine to protect cattle against a lethal disease known as East Coast fever has been launched in Kenya, where Kenya Livestock Development Minister Mohammed Kuti says the development ‘is a big relief to livestock farmers in East, Central and Southern Africa where about 1.1 million cattle are lost to the disease every year.
The vaccine was developed jointly by the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, the International Livestock Research Institute, Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Global Alliance for Livestock and Veterinary Medicine.
‘Dr Kuti said the realisation of the vaccine is a milestone in the control of livestock diseases in Africa particularly livestock keepers in Kenya. . . .
‘In a speech read on his behalf by the Director of Veterinary Services, Dr Peter Maina Ithondeka, Kuti said the disease was a major constraint preventing farmers from keeping improved breeds in areas where it is rampant.
‘He said the disease would kill close to 100 per cent of the exotic dairy cattle. It is also a major killer of other varieties kept by local pastoralists. . . .
‘“The vaccine is now a boost on agricultural production through marketing, value-addition and agri-business will improve the livelihoods of Kenyans and create wealth,” he said.
‘Ithondeka said the disease endangered 10 million animals in sub-Saharan Africa and that drugs used to treat the disease are very expensive — above the reach or ordinary farmers. . . .
‘Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers (Kenfap) lauded institutions that carried out tests and developed the vaccine. . . .
Kuti said Vision 2030 recognises livestock development as a key player in national development and a major component of the wider agricultural sector.’
Read the whole article by Osinde Obare at Standard Digital (Kenya): Reprieve to pastoralists as new vaccine for animal fever unveiled, 9 Dec 2012.
Today we mark an exciting developement in the livestock sub-sector coming after a long history that spans decades of research.
The National launch of the ECF vaccine comes at a time when we face serious challenges in tick control… The intensive use of very expensive acaricides has inevitably been accompanied by rapid developement of tick resistance to the chemicals.
Some of the benefits farmers will reap include less usage of acaricides, longer effective life of the chemicals, reduced production costs in treatments against ECF as vaccinated animals are immune for life.
I would like to encourage Kenya farmers and those in the wider region to take advantage of this technology against what is arguably the most important disease affecting animal production in the region…East Coast fever.
The development of this vaccine is indeed a perfect example of real-time Private sector-Research-Extension linkages
See also reports elsewhere, such as this the The Star/AllAfrica.com (Kenya): ‘Scientists in East Coast fever breakthrough’, 11 Dec 2012: http://allafrica.com/stories/201212120775.html