NAIROBI, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Kenya plans to intensity vaccination efforts in order to boost livestock exports, a government official said on Thursday.
Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Principal Secretary Dr Andrew Tuimur told Xinhua in Nairobi that all major lucrative overseas markets including the European Union has imposed stringent health conditions for livestock products entering their countries.
"Kenya has rolled out an ambitious vaccination campaign to ensure that the country is declared free of common livestock disease such as the foot and mouth disease," Tuimur said.
"We are currently working closely with the county governments and hope that Kenya will have disease free zones in the next one year," he said.
Livestock earmarked for export will have to be quarantined in the disease free zones before being sent overseas.
Kenya is currently only able to export livestock to the Middle East and Mauritius.
Early this year, the East African nation launched an oil based foot and mouth disease vaccine that is more effective compared to the water based vaccine.
Tuimur said that for Kenya to become disease free it will have to cooperate with its neighbors as pastoralists move freely across the borders.
"We plan to heighten surveillance and monitoring in major border points," he noted.
The PS said that Kenya has enormous potential in the livestock sector which is yet to be fully exploited.
Government data indicates that Kenya has 17 million cattle, 28 million sheep and 2.8 million donkeys.
Tuimur said that the livestock sector which is concentrated in the arid and semi arid areas, contributes about 12 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.