The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says the goal of eradicating Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) globally by 2030 can be achieved if governments and development agencies invest urgently in combating the spread of the disease.
In an update on the status of the disease on 19 December, the FAO said timely interventions against PPR could save millions of vulnerable African, Middle Eastern and Asian smallholder farmers whose livelihoods are dependent on goats and sheep.
“PPR, or sheep and goat plague, is a highly contagious animal disease that affects small ruminants. An estimated 300 million farmers who rely on small ruminants like sheep and goats as a source of food income are at risk of losing their livelihoods to PPR, and may be forced to migrate,” the FAO said.
Since its detection in Côte d’Ivoire in 1942, PPR has been confirmed in more than 70 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The FAO said there is a high risk of the disease spreading further, and with devastating results on small stock farmers, unless urgent measures are taken to contain and eradicate it.
“It is estimated that PPR causes (global) economic losses of up to US$2 billion annually. Eradicating the disease is feasible and can preserve the income base and food source for millions of smallholders and pastoralists who sell sheep and goats for income and to feed their families,” the statement said.
The FAO said the disease can be eradicated using cheaper, existing and readily available vaccines that provide lifelong immunity. Presently, it is working with the World Organisation for Animal Health to mobilise the international community to finance programmes aimed at eradicating the disease in Africa, the Middle East and Asia by 2030.
Also read: FAO and OIE team up to fight PPR