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Battle plan to beat livestock disease

NAIROBI, September 20 – The government has allocated Sh1.66 billion emergency funds to fight the Peste De Petit Ruminant (PPR) disease that threatens the multi-billion dollar livestock industry.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said Saturday that the PPR outbreak which began two years ago has so far wiped out 2.5 million sheep and goats.

He said the disease has spread to 17 districts in the country, putting the livelihood of millions of people in Arid and Semi Arid areas of the country at risk.

Musyoka said the government will ensure that the PPR and other recurring disease outbreaks will be eradicated within the next five years.

"For us to export more meat products to better markets, we have to ensure that our meat is disease free," he said.

He spoke in Merti, Isiolo district during the launch of the second phase of the PPR control activities that will cover 59 districts in the northern, Central and Southern Rift, lower Eastern, Coast and North Eastern Provinces.

Musyoka noted that the Grand coalition government has put in place strategies to revamp the livestock industry through the sinking of boreholes for water, construction of dams, putting up slaughterhouses in various parts of the country as well as sourcing more export markets in Europe, Middle East and Seychelles.

The plans also include the construction of an International Airport at Isiolo to facilitate export and tourism arrivals.

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The Vice President disclosed that policies and laws governing livestock development are also being revised to make them relevant to current realities.

Musyoka noted that the government, through the Ministry of Livestock Development, will put in place appropriate and cost effective breeding technology in order to improve livestock species especially in the arid and semi arid areas, for higher productivity and better incomes.

He said that livestock development is a crucial component in the government poverty eradication and wealth creation strategy.

The Vice President noted that the livestock industry is a multi-billion shilling sector, contributing about 12 percent to the national GDP and employs 50 percent of the agricultural labor force.

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