Kenya’s ministry of livestock development has identified the coast and Isiolo complex for the rearing of livestock for exportation.
The country’s Minister of Livestock Development, Dr. Mohamed Kuti said Kenya is struggling to overcome general animal diseases which is hindering it from livestock export.
Thus, Dr Kuti said “Kenya will undertake World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) PVS Gap Analysis in July 2011.” The exercise will provide a quantitative evaluation of the country’s needs and priorities based on the outcome of an independent external evaluation of the country’s veterinary services.
The minister said they are also pursuing the twinning of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Laboratory in Embakasi, Nairobi to the World Reference Laboratory for FMD in Pirbright UK to facilitate capacity building and networking under the OIE Laboratory twinning program.
Livestock diseases have been a major impediment to the productivity in the livestock sector.
Speaking during the official opening of regional offices at Nairobi, the Minister said:
“Trans-boundary livestock diseases have brought about losses due to massive deaths experienced whenever they strike.
“This scenario reflects negatively on livelihoods since majority of African families rely on livestock for survival. The difference in the animal health in different countries are the biggest culprits for the spread of these diseases, this therefore calls for precautionary measures to prevent the introduction of the spread of the diseases and also protect gains made in disease control and eradication.
“Effective disease control therefore require an enhanced regional cooperation stratagem. In this relation, the establishment of the OIE regional offices is a positive step towards addressing the disease instances in the region.”
The OIE Sub-Regional office will serve 13 countries in the region and will provide regionally adapted services and strengthen the surveillance and control of animal diseases in the region.
The countries envisage that this engagement will ultimately improve regional participation in the OIE international standards setting process and foster implementation of OIE standards and guidelines at national level as well as with trading partners.
Through OIE the region hopes to improve animal health through sanitary and veterinary information, both for diseases affecting animals and also those transferable to humans.
The improvement of veterinary services will bring East Africa and the Horn of Africa in line with international standards in terms of structure, organization, resources, capacities and professionalism.
Dr. Mohamed Kuti said Kenya has therefore entered into the OIE PVS Pathway, a global programme for the sustainable improvement of a country’s compliance with OIE standards on the quality of Veterinary Services.
Africa has an estimated total human population of 1 billion people, 818 million birds, 600 million sheep & goats and 240 million cattle. This works out to about one bird for every person, one sheep or goat for every two persons and one head of cattle for every four persons.
According to Kenya’s 2009 Population and Housing Census results, that also collected household livestock holdings, Kenya has a population of 40 million people with slightly less than one chicken per person, 2 persons for every head of cattle, one sheep or goat for every person and one camel for every 15 persons.
This demographic variation of distribution of livestock to people serves to demonstrate the inordinate importance of livestock in Kenya. “Kenya is geographically placed in East Africa and just off the horn of Africa and is therefore advantaged strategically placed for livestock production and enterprise,” Dr. Mohamed Kuti said.
While livestock keeping has been a traditional mainstay of the pastoral and nomadic population in arid and semi-arid lands and small holder dairy producers in the highlands, it is rapidly gaining credence as a means of respectable and gainful employment for the suburban and middle class household not traditionally associated with livestock.
The launch of the OIE Sub Regional was graced by Chief Veterinary Officers from over 40 countries from Africa and the Middle East, Dr Benard Vallat, Director of the World organization for Animal Health, Dr Samake Yacouba, the Regional Representative Africa, Dr Masiga walter, Sub-Regional Representative for Eastern and Horn of Africa, Dr Bonaventure Mtei, Sub-Regional Representative South Asia and Dr Kechrid Faouzi, Sub-Regional Representative North Africa.