Meeting health standards for export
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CTA. 2003. Meeting health standards for export. Rural Radio Resource Pack 03/03. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57251
Dr David Ikiror, an animal health scientist working in Kenya describes the basic principles of good livestock health and argues t hat livestock farmers must become more market oriented.
Cue: Kenya is a country well-known for its livestock keeping. Recently however, some have argued that the nature of livestock keeping in Kenya needs to change, in order to increase the economic benefit to the country. Central to this idea is the need to export more animals and animal products to foreign markets, where Kenyan exports can earn good prices. But if a country is serious about selling livestock to foreign markets, achieving the highest standards of animal health is critically important. Where health standards are low, outbreaks of infectious diseases such as Foot and Mouth disease can easily occur, leading to bans on all animal movements and the closing of borders to livestock trade. But how can costly disease outbreaks be stopped? To find out, Eric Kadenge spoke to Dr David Ikiror, an animal health scientist working in Kenya. IN: ?Just like human beings? OUT: ? reap the maximum benefits.? DUR?N: 4?05? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Dr David Ikiror, emphasising how good livestock health can bring substantial economic benefits. Transcript Ikiror Just like human beings, we need to be healthy in order to be productive. So for you to be able to get the optimal production and productivity from your livestock, surely you have to keep your livestock healthy otherwise the feeding and the other things that you do alone will not be enough. And also of course, if you keep your livestock healthy, then also you can access markets. Kadenge Now that is very very interesting and I would like to go ahead and find out - what are some of the ways that we can prevent our animals from getting sick? Ikiror We all know that proper feeding is very very important in maintaining human health. The same thing applies to animals. They need to get a balanced diet: proteins, they need to get vitamins, they need to get energy, they need to get water, mineral salts, they are all very necessary to keep our animals healthy. Also we need to, just like for human beings, we need to talk of hygiene. We need to have a clean environment where our animals stay. In other words, if an animal is kept like in a zero grazing unit, you need to be cleaning the place - removing the dung, removing the urine - to make sure that the environment is clean. And of course even the housing is important especially for young animals. They should be housed in such a way that you protect them from excesses of weather, like excessive wind, which can predispose them to pneumonia or also rainfall. We need to make sure that our animals are protected from pests. We are talking of things like ticks, so we need to dip our animals regularly. We need to make sure that our animals also are de-wormed; de-worm them regularly to lower the worm burden. We need to make sure that also our animals are vaccinated against some - there are some diseases which can be protected through vaccination. So those are some of the ways in which we can keep our animals healthy. Kadenge And for the sake of maybe a farmer or a livestock trader as you said - that would like to be able to maybe identify when his livestock has a disease, are there some common things that one can probably notice that will indicate that an animal is unhealthy? Ikiror We can talk of somebody knowing the signs of a healthy animal. A healthy animal will usually show a smooth hair coat, smooth skin, it will be active and the eyes will not be tearing. If it is an animal with a tail - the tail will be moving continuously, it will be walking normally. If the urine is passed, it will be normal urine. The dung also it will be normal - normal colour, normal consistency. Then if it is an animal that?s for example producing milk - if it is a cow or a goat which is milking then the milk will be normal, of normal colour and consistency. And also if you look at this animal on the body, you will not see any sign of parasites for example. That is a sign of an animal that is healthy. So in other words, the normal things that you would expect a normal animal to have. Kadenge Is there anything else that you would like to add? Ikiror What I would like to add is to say that basically, livestock is now being identified as one of the important engines that will spur economic development. In fact if we talk about the recovery of the economy, livestock is being earmarked as one of the main drivers. And it is being seen not only producing food for our consumption but we are also thinking in terms of producing these animal products and also animals themselves for the export markets. And as a farmer it will be very very necessary for us to double our efforts and even improving our livestock and also its important not only to look at the health but let?s look at the kind of breeds that we keep in our area. That?s why I am saying that it is important that we seek advice from experts so that we can get advice on which animals to keep in which particular area and on the general management. The important thing is we should move away from subsistence form of livestock production to more market oriented. That way as farmers and as a nation we can reap the maximum benefits. End of track.