Gambia`s agricultural officials says a viral disease called Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) causes 50 percent of loses of small ruminants in the country.
According to Adama Ngum Njie who represented the country`s agriculture minister in a validation forum of the virus today in Banjulunding, the disease is a “menace” that “severely” impacts on the country`s economy.
She pointed out that the government is obliged to embrace any effort that is geared towards addressing the disease. And cited appropriate control measures and strategies that are important to tackling the virus.
She said small ruminants are important in combating hunger and global fight against poverty. And added that small ruminants also contributes 10 percent to Gambia`s GDP.
Mr. Duto Sainey Fofanna, CVO of The Gambia, said the population of goats and sheeps in the country is 501,008, comprising 172,662 sheeps and 328,336 goats.
According to Fofanna, 48 percent of households own one or more cattle, 89 percent raised a either sheep or a goat and out of that, women rear 74 percent of sheeps and 47 percent of goats.
He said mobility and mortality pose great negative impacts on the livestock population, thus hampering success in the global struggle to attain food security, income generation and improve livelihood of rural farmers.
Despite having access to veterinary services, 50 percent of loses in small ruminants is due to PPR says Fofana, which he said needs to be looked into.
He also commended the commitments of the government of The Gambia to the global program for the control and eradication of PPR by 2030.
He also thanked FAO, OIE and AU-IBAR for their contributions to the fight against the disease.
Mr. Bruss Muganda, representative of AU-IBAR said heads of states and government of the African Union have endorsed a Livestock Development Strategy for Africa.