Kenya and Uganda have vaccinated 300,000 cattle in a free joint mass livestock vaccination against the contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia, lumpy skin and foot and mouth diseases which are rampant in the region to wipe out and curb the spread of the diseases, and improve animal health.
The exercise which started last week in North Pokot sub county after the diseases broke out in the neighbouring country Uganda targets animals along the border of the two countries in North Pokot Sub County and Eastern Uganda. It’s also meant to strengthen cross border collaboration and coordination in the semi-arid region.
The exercise which costs between Kshs 800,000 to Kshs 1.2 million was also conducted last year courtesy of the Food Agriculture Organization, the national government, West Pokot County government and Amudat District.
The pastoral region has more than 300,000 cattle and Uganda hosts many Kenyan herders who crossed the border during the drought season. West Pokot County government gave 150,000 vaccine doses while Amudat District in Uganda gave 15,000 vaccine doses.
West Pokot Governor Prof. John Lonyangapuo led the Kenyan delegation in Uganda to vaccinate the animals in Natekol, Abong’oi, Asiokanion, Karita, Lokales, Ng’rina, Kreek and Chepkusinya and other areas along the border of the two countries.
He said that more than 60% of livestock from Kenya is in Uganda and there are minimal livestock deaths in the area. “Over 60 % to 70% of animals used to die in the past but things have changed. We get good meat and the rate of survival is high,” said Lonyangapuo.
Governor Lonyangapuo reiterated that the two countries will ensure the region is an animal disease-free zone to help improve the immunity of livestock for 6 to 8 months, improve productivity and enhance marketing. “We want to make sure we export more animals from the area to other countries. About ten thousand cows are being sold during every Friday market day where both currencies are being used to buy animals across the border,” he said.
He cited that the move will enhance the East African cooperation and promote free movement of people among the two countries. “We are happy to work as a team. In 2013 we signed a cross border harmony vaccination memorandum of understanding that we shall use,” he said.
The Governor said that 90% of animals from the region are sold in Nairobi. “We have a market access in Dagoretti and farmers sell 1000 cows in a week.” He further reaffirmed the commitment of the two countries to such regional initiatives and working together with other countries within the region to address challenges of livestock development.
Kacheliba Member of parliament Mark Lomunokol said the animals have been grazing together and it helps to promote peace and security in the region. “This has greatly changed the way of life for our people.”