ZAMBIA PLEDGES TO PREVENT GOAT PLAGUE
ZAMBIA has reaffirmed its commitment to preventing and combating goat plague (Peste des Petits Ruminants) in line with the global strategy of eradicating the disease by 2030.
Minister of Fisheries and Livestock Kampamba Mulenga said the government has set aside US$3.5 million in the 2019 National Budget for developing a strategy aimed at preventing and eradicating the disease.
Ms. Mulenga made the remarks in Brussels, Belgium at the just ended global conference on PPR, dubbed partnering and investing for a PPR free world.
“In the short term, the strategy will focus on strengthening the early warning and diagnostic capacities, legislation, movement control, vaccine banks and vaccination campaigns as well as other emergency disease response mechanism. In the long term, the strategy uses research and development and also focuses on other small ruminant neglected diseases that threaten production,” Ms. Mulenga said.
“The total cost for the strategy is estimated at US$17.5million for a period of five years and out of this total amount, government has committed 25 percent of which comes to US$3.5 million. This amount has been included in the National Budget for the 2019. What we are seeking here today is the support for US$14 million to implement this strategy.”
The Goat plague, also known as Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), is a severe viral disease that affects goats and sheep and has widely spread across the developing world.
Since its identification in 1942 in Cote d’Ivoire, the disease has spread at an alarming rate with now more than 70 countries affected throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, causing annual economic losses of up to US$2.1billion and 300 million families being at risk of losing their livelihood, food security and employment.
Ms. Mulenga said the government recognises the importance of value addition in agriculture hence the diversification of the country’s economy from mining as outlined in the Seventh National Development Plan.
Ms. Mulenga also said the production of small ruminants remained an integral part of sustainable development for the rural Zambian people and an assured regional market to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and international market access to Saudi Arabia had been identified.
Meanwhile, Ms. Mulenga appealed to the Zambian Mission in Brussels to continue lobbying for financial support, which will ultimately enable government through the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries to implement the strategy of animal disease prevention and eradication.
During a courtesy call on Zambian Embassy in Belgium Charge d’ Affaires Mr. Henry Ngilazi, Ms. Mulenga said the programs lined up in the strategy will help the country to alleviate poverty and youth unemployment.
Ms. Mulenga said President Edgar Lungu is committed to ensuring that agricultural programs in Zambia work for the betterment of people’s livelihoods.
“President Lungu is very passionate about fish farming. I am sure most of you have seen or read where he is inspecting some of these ponds. Currently we have 200 youths training in fish farming and when they are done, we can see how we can empower them. We have the manpower and the skill but we need investment. That is why the President is always emphasising on the Public Private Partnership so that together we can address some of these concerns,” she said.
Ms. Mulenga emphasised the need to operate at an industrial level through setting up advanced laboratories for research, processing and investigation if agriculture is to bring in the expected revenue in Zambia.
And Mr. Ngilazi said the Mission remained committed to serving the country through engaging cooperating partners and exploring the available opportunities of access to finance for agriculture and other programmes.
Mr. Ngilazi said Zambia continued to enjoy good relations with the European Union and had free market access under the Everything But Arms (EBA) arrangement.
Phyllis Chilekwa (Ms)
First Secretary – Press and Public Relations
Embassy of the Republic of Zambia
Brussels – Belgium
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