29 C
City of Banjul
Friday, September 18, 2020

300,000 Gambian cattle under threat of disease

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The disease had been under control in the country for the past 40 years but it has now surfaced again, according to livestock officials. Dr Sainey Duto Fafona, overseeing officer, Department of Livestock   Services described CBPP as a deadly cattle disease which could wipe out 50 percent of the country’s cattle.

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The veterinary officer made these remarks on Tuesday during a handing over ceremony of materials worth four million dalasi by FAO Gambia office to his department in their fight against the disease.

According to him, when the outbreak happened in 2012 the government of The Gambia and FAO immediately developed a technical cooperation which ensured the provision of vaccines, materials and equipment to enhance the capacity of his department in order to effectively control the outbreak.

“Let me also inform you that, apart from materials and equipment, FAO has provided financial resources to cover other logistics of the campaign and for the sensitisation of partners and other stakeholders,” he said.

Dr Fofana further stated that two successful vaccination campaigns were conducted in 2013 and in 2014, while noting that another campaign is being planned for the early part of this year.

In her remarks, FAO representative in The Gambia Dr Perpetua Katepa-Kalala pointed out that apart from the technical cooperation which provides assistance to control the disease, FAO is also providing assistance to vulnerable households with funding from the Japanese government.

According to her, the livestock sub-sector in The Gambia contributes 29.6 percent to the GDP of agriculture and 8.6 percent to the national GDP. She revealed that livestock constitutes an important source of food as well as store of assets for many households in The Gambia.

“FAO stands ready at all times to support the food security needs of the Gambian people in consonance with our mandate and comparative advantage in this important livelihood sector,” she added.

Dr Demba Jallow, director general of the Gambia Livestock Management Agency said the control and prevention of CBPP continues to be a collaborative effort between the government and FAO which requires the full cooperation of livestock farmers and traders both in The Gambia and Senegal.

He further stated that his agency will continue to buy sick animals as may be identified by his office in due course. Due to the contagious nature of the disease, he posited, farmers were sensitised nationwide  while sick animals are  culled and slaughtered for meat .

Isatou Yarboe-Manneh of the Ministry of Agriculture said government and its partners in recognition of the impact of CBPP disease on food security, continue to show their commitment to control the outbreak by funding the third vaccination campaign this year.

“The required quantity of vaccine is being provided by FAO as well as supplies, equipment and payment of daily sustenance allowances for the vaccination team. Significant progress has been registered so far in the implementation of CBPP control measures since the confirmation of the disease in the country.  But there is no room for complacency since there are reports of few clinical cases of the disease within our native cattle population,” she added.

The donated items included a computer, printer, scanner, digital camera, microscope, automatic syringes and needles, camp beds, over coats, gum boots, face masks, raincoats, 10 deep freezers and fridges, gas burners and cylinders, sterilisation cookers,  1000 T –Shirts plus caps  and  laboratory equipment .

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