Ministry calls for National Control Strategies for animal disease

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe has stated that the development of National Control Strategies for the control of the diseases is long overdue.

This is even as he attributed the stunt growth of Nigeria’s livestock sector to a wide range of animal diseases.

Umakhihe made this known in Abuja at the Stakeholders’ Workshop for the Validation of the Draft National Contingency Plans for the Control of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), African Swine Fever (ASF), trypanosomiasis and tick-borne diseases in Nigeria.

Umakhihe who was represented by the Director, Special Duties in the Ministry, Dr Fausat Lawal said the sector is limited by diseases such as contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (lung sickness), peste des petits ruminant (sheep and goat plague), foot and mouth diseases, avian influenza (bird flu) and African swine fever.

According to him, the country’s livestock sector has a huge economic potential that should be explored and harnessed, hence the development of National Control Strategies for the control of the diseases is long overdue.

The national control strategy, he said, became necessary for improved livestock production and productivity.

For a profitable livestock business, he said it is imperative that the diseases are controlled and eradicated.

He noted that a successful production venture is contingent upon a well-established and functional veterinary service that is capable of delivering qualitative, timely and efficient animal healthcare services for the livestock population.

He said: “Anything short of this will continue to limit the contribution of livestock to national food security.

“Poor control of these diseases will ultimately result in gross insufficiency in animal products and huge import bills on meat and milk products”, Umakhihe added.

Also, the Chief Officer, Animal Health and Clinical Services, Dr, Maimuna Habib, noted that foot and mouth disease remains one of the most important livestock diseases globally given its infectious nature.

She stated that the direct and indirect losses due to foot and mouth disease is devastating to the economic growth of any developing nation.

She added that the global impact of the disease is colossal due to the huge number of animals affected.

“Poor access to markets and limited use of susceptible improved breeds with high productivity, consequently contributing to food insecurity and poverty.

“It is therefore timely for this document to be developed at such a time when the country is faced with various

economic challenges.

“The development of the document will provide a roadmap for the control and eradication of foot and mouth disease in Nigeria”, she said.