Kenya is staring at a crisis in the dairy sector following a prolonged shortage of foot and mouth vaccine, even as some counties have put in place quarantine measures to prevent the movement of animals.
The shortage, which has been there for months, has been blamed on the quarantine that limited access to animals from which to extract the vaccine material.
Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimutai said the production at the Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute (Kevevapi) has started, but veterinary doctors have said there was nothing taking place.
“The restricted movement of animals from which we could extract the vaccine is hindering production,” said Mr Kimutai.
The stalled vaccine production has also affected other Eastern Africa countries, which rely on Kevevapi for the supply of the crucial drugs.
Nandi County had paid for the supply of vaccine but the delivery is yet to be made following the hiccup.
“If it is true that we now have vaccine, we challenge the Ministry of Agriculture to show us where we can acquire sufficient stocks,” said a veterinary officer on anonymity.
More than five counties, including Nandi, Kisii and Trans-Nzoia are on quarantine following the outbreak of the disease.
The disease has been spreading fast to counties in western and North Rift, forcing stakeholders back to the drawing board.
Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) attacks cloven-hoofed animals like cattle, pigs, sheep and many wildlife species.
Symptoms include loss of appetite, reduced milk production, lameness with the presence of painful lesions on the feet, making the animal uncomfortable and shifting weight. Others are drooling saliva and chomping of jaws.
Last year, the government issued an outbreak alert after it was established that dairy animals had the disease.
According to the report that was released by the Ministry of Agriculture, 26 counties were under attack. The statistics showed that Nakuru had the highest number of sick animals, followed by Kiambu, Garissa and Uasin Gishu. Foot and mouth disease also affects feeding, hence reduced milk production.