The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (Kalro) has donated a huge consignment of pneumonia vaccines for goats to the Taita-Taveta County Government.
Pneumonia and prolonged drought are reported to have killed dozens of goats and sheep recently in the region that boasts of 30 ranches across 1.2 million acres of land that is suitable for livestock production.
Kalro donated over 140,000 vaccine doses to help fight against contagious caprine pleuropneumonia, which is a serious disease in goats.
According to senior county government officials, the vaccines will be enough to cover at least 70 per cent of the goat population in the county.
Records show that the county has an estimated 143,000 cows, 51,000 sheep, and 386,000 goats.
Dr Martin Mwirigi, a senior Kalro official, said the vaccines were delivered after they conducted research in Taita Taveta and Kajiado. "We will now scale up the exercise to other counties as we seek national government support. We will soon roll out another project on use of probiotics that aims at boosting nutrition and improving animal productivity as we strive to promote the value chain."
Dr Mwirigi said Kalro is also partnering with the Jumuiya Ya Kaunti Za Pwani - a regional economic development bloc representing Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu and Taita Taveta - to undertake other programmes to assist in combating greenhouse gas emissions, especially methane gas, which is harmful to humans.
County Director of Veterinary Services Jeremiah Ngugi said they will be seeking to reach out to more farmers at the grassroots.
"Studies show distance was a key factor to low turnout in the recent vaccination exercises we conducted. Veterinary officers will be visiting farmers at their bomas, where organised farmer groups will be given first priority in the forthcoming vaccination exercise," said Dr Ngugi.
Water Executive Grantone Mwandawiro said there was need to regulate livestock movement into the county. “Even as we keep vaccinating the larger population, we remain at risk because of animals from neighbouring counties invading the county in search of water and pasture.