The government says over five million goats and about 300,000 sheep in the country are at risk of contracting Peste des Petis Ruminants, PPR, a viral disease that affects and kills small ruminants.
Fisheries and Livestock Minister Kampamba Chewe says if control strategies that deal with risks and vulnerability of small ruminants are not put in place, PPR which is already reported in the northern countries bordering Zambia, will easily spread into the country.
In a speech read on her behalf by Fisheries and Livestock permanent secretary David Shamulenge during the opening of the second Peste des Petit ruminants regional meeting for southern Africa, Mrs Chewe said if allowed to enter Zambia, goats and sheep will be at risk in the SADC region and countries south of the Zambezi river.
Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said it has launched the PPR global eradication programme worth about $997million to eradicate the disease.
FAO country representative George Okech said the funds are a response to control and eradicating the disease that is affecting 300 million of the world’s poor rural households.
In a speech delivered on his behalf by FAO livestock development officer for Southern Africa Bedane Berhanu, Dr. Okech said FAO will continue to support SADC countries and other regions to implement the PPR global strategy.
Meanwhile, African Union-Inter African Bureau for Animal Resources, AU-IBAR, Animal health officer Dr Ahmed Ibrahim said funds must be allocated in national strategic plans and activities.