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Agency warns of livestock disease outbreak over drought

A disease control agency has said the country is losing hundreds of livestock to sickness caused by tsetse fly.

It has called on the national and county governments to eradicate the trypanosomiasis disease that is costing farmers huge losses.

Kenya Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Council (KENTTEC) chief executive Pamela Olet said the spread of the disease has been aggravated by the drought in the county.

She said pastoralists are driving their livestock into forests in search of pasture thus exposing them to tsetse flies.

The forests invaded by herders include the Witu in Lamu, Galana in Tana River, Baringo and the green deserts of Isiolo and areas bordering the Mt Kenya Forest.

“At least 60 per cent of the herds are being lost in these forests. Livelihoods are being destroyed, unfortunately we do not have adequate resources and so mitigation has not been done properly,” she said.

Addressing a stakeholder’s forum in Nairobi on Tuesday, Dr Olet claimed the country loses between Sh20 billion and Sh50 billion per year in livestock deaths.

“We have dealing with a neglected problem, people are not aware of the impact of the disease due to drought,” she said.

She said it would cost KENTTEC at least Sh13 billion to eradicate the disease in the next 10 years.

She pointed out the need for collaboration between stakeholders to fight the disease.

Dr Olet expressed fear that the disease could spread to wild animals and affect tourism.

According to the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, tsetse flies infest approximately 138,000 square kilometers in 38 counties.

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