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Published on Jul 17, 2012
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization has vaccinated nearly 14 million animals in the last one year, in a move to protect Somali livestock, the largest livelihood activity. FAO's livestock interventions also include helping farmers to boost fodder production, providing animal emergency treatment and strengthening animal disease surveillance.
In last year's drought that led to famine in parts southern Somalia, pastoral communities were hardest hit livestock were wiped out due to drought-related diseases, and lack of water and pasture.
There are hopes that livestock -- cattle, sheep, goats and camels — will continue to help bridge the gap. But untreatable diseases endemic to the region threaten the herds. FAO is racing against time to carry out vaccinations to remove that threat with a target of vaccinating 27 million animals by the end of 2012. PPR (Peste des Petitd Ruminants) is an acute highly contagious viral disease of goats, less commonly sheep characterized by fever, errosive stomatitis, enteritis, pneumonia, and death. It's estimated that Somalia has between 28 and 40 million livestock, upon which nearly 80 percent of the country depend on.
Somali livestock exports to the Gulf States quadrupled to over 4million animals in 2010 after the Saudi government lifted a long-standing ban, figures continue to show. Saudi Arabia, formerly the biggest buyer of Somali livestock, lifted the nine-year ban in 2009 to secure meat supplies for haj pilgrims. Riyadh had imposed it due to concerns about a lack of proper health screening in the lawless Horn of Africa nation.
Produced By Frank Nyakairu FAO Communications Somalia Unit.