On a recent trip to India, I had the opportunity to visit Manda Pandey in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh. I was traveling with my colleague Rahul Srivastava who is the Marketing Officer for our South Asian programmes. Rahul and I were going to visit a new project that GALVmed is launching in the area to protect small ruminants (sheep and goats) against PPR (Pestes des Petits Ruminants). Here, 90% of tested animals were positive for exposure to PPR, yet livestock owners are oblivious to the problem that they face. The Sharif Gramudyog Vikas Kendra (SGVK) PPR vaccination project has thus been launched to deal with the disease.
PPR is a disease that mostly affects goats and to a lesser extent sheep. The disease is present in many parts of Africa and Asia. It is rapidly fatal in young animals. Most deaths are likely to occur 3-4 months after peak kidding and lambing, after maternal antibody levels drop to ineffective levels; 55-85% of affected animals die. The animals most at risk are those below one year of age. If an animal recovers, it has lifelong immunity [i].
PPR is initially characterised by a number of symptoms that appear between 6-7 days after contact with infected animals. These include a high fever, dullness, sneezing and serous (watery) discharge from the eyes. These are then followed a day or two later by lesions in the mouth, and discharge in the nose and eyes which becomes pus-like. Diarrhoea will develop 3-4 days after the onset of a fever. Respiratory signs (laboured breathing and coughing) follow and become more severe when there is a secondary bacterial pneumonia.
Vaccination against PPR only works before the animals get the disease. Vaccination prevents disease and consequent loss of productivity (poor growth, drop in milk production, death).
The PPR/SGP vaccination project is aimed at small holder goat keepers. The aim is to get the livestock keepers to routinely vaccinate their goats and deworm. The project also aims to improve the community knowledge base and rearing practices to develop goat rearing as a viable livelihood activity. By the end of 12 months, over 92,000 PPR vaccinations will have been done, sixteen people trained to provide animal health services and two outlets supported to provide animal health inputs.
During this particular trip we also had the opportunity to visit a buffalo dairy and goat farm in Joya, Amroha also in Uttar Pradesh. The farm is owned and managed by Mr Azam Abbas. The farm has 17 buffaloes and 40 Rajashtan goats. This farm gets INR 40 per litre for their buffalo milk compared to INR 36 per litre that is the market rate. Goat milk is considered to be of medicinal value and sells at INR 2,000 [ii] per litre. Goats for meat are sold at 4 months of age weighing approximately 16-18kg with a killing out percentage of 45-48%. A Rajasthan buck weighs as much as 175kg.
Access to market is the main challenge for goat keepers and often at the mercy of traders who often manipulate the market for their own benefit.
[i] Radostits, O. M. et al, Veterinary Medicine.
[ii] 1 Indian rupee ~ 1.5 Kenya shillings