Livestock farmers to save Sh160 with cheap foot and mouth vaccine

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A dairy cow at the 2016 Nakuru ASK Show. farmers could save Sh160 per year in vaccinating  a cow  against  foot and mouth disease with the new oil-based immunity product. PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT

Livestock farmers could save up to Sh160 per head with the new oil-based vaccine that gives the animals immunity against the foot and mouth disease (FMD) for one year.

Farmers pay Sh200 for a single dose of a water-based vaccine against the viral disease, which is administered thrice year. This means one would incur Sh360 in vaccinating one cow. A single dose of the new vaccine from the Kenya Veterinary Vaccine Production Institute (KEVEVAPI) costs Sh200.

“The new vaccine offers livestock immunity against the virus for six months and the frequency of vaccination is once or twice per year,” Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Organisation Acting Chief Executive Officer Jane Wachira said.

KEVEVAPI is a vaccine research organ under KALRO, the overall livestock and animal production state agency.

FMD is an acute contagious viral infection that attacks hoofed animals including cows, goats, pigs, sheep and about 70 others in the wildlife such as antelopes and buffaloes. 

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According to Westgate Research, an online science repository, the infected animals show, loss of appetite, excessive salivation as well as emergency of red rashes in the mouth lining and between the spaces in the feet. Coronary bands also form at the feet ad teats.

It is classified as one the Transboundary Animal Diseases, therefore movement of livestock and their products from countries where it is endemic is restricted.

The discovery of the vaccine could bolster chances of Kenya mitigating the disease, to enable the county access rich beef markets like the European Union, where livestock and their products are not allowed to enter. This costs the economy billions of shillings yearly, given that the EU is one of Kenya’s biggest international agricultural produce market.

Dr Wachira said the agency is also working on reducing the cost to farmers to Sh160 ahead of commercial production.