Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has said Kenya is on course to eradicate Trypanosomiasis in a bid to sustain higher income from livestock production.
Speaking on Tuesday when he officially opened the 36th General Conference of the International Scientific Council of the Trypanosomiasis Research and Control at PrideInn Hotel in Mombasa, the Deputy President said the disease remained a threat to livestock farming in Kenya and Africa.
“Livestock contributes between 30pc and 80pc to the Gross Domestic Product of Sub-Saharan Africa. But this contribution is under threat from Animal African Trypanosomiasis, which has been linked to economic losses of up to USD 4.5 billion annually,” said the DP.
He said the government is focused on effectively dealing with the tsetse fly which transmits the disease in a bid to improve productivity for farmers.
Kenya has not reported any case of sleeping sickness, also transmitted by tsetse flies in humans, since 2009. The Deputy President thanked scientists for working hard to eliminate sleep sickness in the country.
“Kenya remains steady in eliminating the tsetse fly. Under the current development policy, the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda, manufacturing is a key pillar. In the next two years, Kenya will stop importing leather items. That is why expelling this tsetse fly disease is important as we look forward to spurring the leather industry in Kenya,” he added.
He challenged African countries to work together in the fight against Trypanosomiasis saying the continent has shown it can find solutions to its problems.
“When we meet and unite as a continent, we will find solutions to all the challenges we face,” the DP said.
He added that the disease remained a threat to most economies in Africa with millions of people depending on livestock for food.