The Bihar Post

UN agricultural agency launches programme to eradicate deadly goat disease

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New York: The United Nations agricultural agency has launched the first phase of a new, 15-year global programme to eradicate a highly contagious viral animal disease affecting more than 70 countries in Africa, Middle East and Asia, which account for about 80 per cent of the world’s sheep and goats and where millions of families depend heavily on these animals for nutrition and livelihoods.

Peste des petits ruminants (PPR)– also known as sheep and goat plague – is highly lethal to small ruminants. The annual global damage due to the disease is estimated to be between $1.4 and $2.1 billion.

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“Wiping out PPR will have a major positive impact on the lives of pastoralist communities in all developing countries and directly support global efforts to end poverty and hunger by 2030,” said UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva in a news release announcing the launch of the $996.4 million FAO-World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) initiative.

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According to FAO, an estimated 300 million small-scale farming families depend on small ruminants for food and income.

A recent outbreak in India caused $180 million in losses. Similarly, a series of epidemics in Kenya in 2006-2008 killed 1.2 million small ruminants with losses exceeding $23.5 million and a 2.1 million litre drop in milk production.

“When it comes to viral animal diseases, much attention falls on the threats they pose to human health – but their effects on economic growth, human livelihoods, quality nutrition and food security can be equally devastating. That’s why this campaign needs wide support,” Graziano da Silva added.

Image Courtesy: FAO/Marco Longari
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