Nandi farmers have devised a new way to control the deadly foot and mouth diseases (FMD) in their livestock by using ‘kangara’, a mixture of molasses and maize flour from which chang’aa, a traditional home-brewed spirit; popular in Kenya is distilled.
The kangara is fed to cows, goats or sheep with the virus and within four days, the livestock is cured.
A cow affected by foot and mouth disease
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In the neighboring Uasin Gishu County, more than 400 herds of cattle died within a period of three weeks following an outbreak of the foot and mouth disease in October 2017. The outbreak has so far been reported in several North Rift and Western counties including Trans Zoia, Vihiga, Bungoma, Busia and Kakamega.
According to the statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, livestock diseases in Kenya lead to losses of more thanSh24 billion annually. Due to this, in September 2017, Bungoma and Busia counties banned livestock trade over the disease followed by Vihiga in October which imposed quarantine in all the five sub-Counties of Emuhaya, Hamisi, Luanda, Sabatia and Vihiga. The quarantine and closure of livestock markets has affected several businesses in the region.
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Peter Butuk, a dairy farmer in Kilibwoni division, Nandi County says six of his ten cows have so far been affected by the disease and he has incurred huge losses purchasing vaccines such as FMD which have not been effective and has a short immunity span.
“I have resorted to using kangara, a trial and error preventive measure which has proved effective to my animals. I feed it to the affected cows twice a day, in the morning and in the evening and since then three of the affected cows are on their way to recovery with the rest showing signs of improvement,” said Butuk.
The Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute (KEVEVAPI) has also introduced a new novel purified oil-based FMD vaccine which has a longer shelf life and confers a longer immunity of up to 12 months. Farmers can now protect their animals against FMD by vaccinating animals over two years old only once a year, with cattle below two years of age getting a booster six months after vaccination. A dose of this new oil-based vaccine costs Sh360. This means that farmers will make a cost saving as compared to when they used the water-based FMD vaccine, which costs Sh645.