Small ruminant production is expected to rise with the growing demand for meat and milk.
Photo : © FAO/Ami Vitale

Initial battle plan to eradicate Peste des petits ruminants

First salvo against plague affecting sheep and goats will focus on high-risk countries, build on the 2011 eradication of rinderpest.

A USD 996.4 million plan launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in late October 2016 is the first phase of what will be a 15-year effort to eradicate peste des petits ruminants (PPR) by 2030.

In April 2015, high-level authorities from 15 countries have pledged to collaborate on a global plan to wipe out forever the devastating animal disease known as ‘peste des petits ruminants' (PPR) by 2030 (rural 21 reported).

The plan for the first five-year phase of that effort is now ready to be put into action and consists of a global strategy backed by nine regional road maps.

How it works

The initial portion of the campaign is focused on countries where PPR is known to exist or where its status has never been assessed. It will involve activities to raise awareness among farmers, build their capacity to prevent and contain the disease, strengthen national veterinary health services and systems for control of PPR and other diseases, and implement targeted vaccination campaigns.

But the plan goes beyond disease eradication alone- it also aims to improve national production models and help herders build the strongest, most resilient livelihoods with their animal resources. With this approach, the agencies are looking to harness the potential of animal husbandry as a path out of poverty and valuable source of nutrition for poor families.

Together, FAO and OIE will coordinate the global efforts of governments, regional organisations, research institutions, funding partners and livestock owners through the Joint PPR Global Secretariat, based in Rome.

Replicating the success of the rinderpest strategy

It is not the first time FAO and OIE join forces to rid the world of a costly plague. The PPR initiative is modelled on the successful effort to eradicate rinderpest, a similar disease affecting cattle, buffalo and wildlife, with its global declaration of freedom in 2011. It was the first time an animal disease had been eradicated worldwide. The agencies' work on rinderpest not only showed that the eradication of a major animal disease was possible and cost effective but it also increased interest globally on how such efforts could be replicated to address other high impact diseases.

Meeting growing demand

With the world population set to rise to over 9.7 billion by 2050, small ruminant production is expected to rise with growing demand for meat and milk, growth that is generating new opportunities for producers, processers and sellers. With that comes stronger interest from governments and industry in making supply chains more reliable and the movement of animals safer.

A pledging conference to secure financial support for the first five-year plan will be organised early next year.

(FAO/OIE/ile)