NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 27- The Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute (KEVEVAPI) has been challenged to play a greater role in the manufacture and marketing of high quality vaccines to ensure the production of healthy livestock in the country.
Livestock Permanent Secretary Kenneth Lusaka opined that through carrying out its mandate effectively and efficiently, the institute can greatly contribute to the revival of the livestock industry.
“The Vision 2030 has identified the creation of Disease Free Zones as one of the flagship projects whose main objective is to ensure production of clean animals. KEVEVAPI has a great role to play to protect our livestock,” the PS emphasised.
The sector, which contributes about 12 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and 50 percent of the agricultural industry, has had to grapple with disease outbreaks which have in turn affected its competitiveness in the global arena.
The situation has in the past been made worse by the fact that the industry has been operating in a vacuum without proper policies to for instance deal with disease outbreaks and other pandemics.
However, with the help of the institute which has been lauded for developing world class vaccines such as that against rinderpest, the PS exuded confidence that they can reverse this trend and boost the performance of the sector.
Besides enabling the country to capture a larger share of the international market, an enhanced sector, the Lusaka observed that having healthy livestock can greatly help to contribute to sustainable livelihoods for the millions of households that depend on livestock raring for their upkeep.
To harness the potential and ensure that the sector thrives, the government has adopted a holistic approach that includes the implementation of programs such as electronic traceability and branding which is an animal identification initiative.
“We have managed to put boluses into about 30,000 animals in the cattle rustling prone areas and we are targeting about one million and I’m sure that we will achieve this target,” the hopeful PS said.
Other interventions include vaccination, drought mitigation as well as the setting up of a Livestock Enterprise Fund where the government has injected an initial seed capital of Sh400 million.
“We don’t want to appear as if we are fire-fighting all the time; we want to have long term solutions such that when it rains we can harvest the pasture and hay and then package it for use during the dry season,” Lusaka added.
The PS spoke when KEVEVAPI launched its strategic plan and its implementation framework for the next five years and one that have been formulated to propel it to the next level of development.
The organisation has been operating without set guiding principles but with the new framework which runs from 2010 to 2015, Chief Executive Officer George Muttai hopes that the vaccine producer will re-engineer itself to contribute effectively to national development.
The parastatal also wants to embark on an ambitious expansion program that will see it venture into countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mauritius, Lesotho and Saudi Arabia.