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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tsetse fly: Senegal advances battle, improves livestock sector

The West African country of Senegal may have advanced battle over Tsetse fly in the country, just as a foundation plan has been put in place to improve livestock sector, NaijaAgroNet reports.

NaijaAgroNet gathers that a campaign against the tsetse fly, a pest that transmits a disease that devastates livestock in the Niayes area near the capital Dakar has radically reduced the fly population and is paving the way for complete eradication. 

Project manager and Head, Animal Health Section in the Senegalese Ministry of Livestock, Baba Sall, confirmed this development to NaijaAgroNet, saying that since the project started, there is already less disease.

“It has not only reduced the tsetse but also ticks, which cause lots of other diseases in the area. We have noticed over all better health of the herds," he said

NaijaAgroNet pointed out that a multi-year programme of the Government of Senegal, with financial help from the United States and technical support from the Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD), France, is slowly eradicating the tsetse fly using a method called the Sterile Insect Technique.

The programme, he said, is supported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) through its joint division with the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

The Niayes area has a coastal micro-climate suitable for exotic breeds of cattle, the kind that produces more milk and meat than domestic stock.

Unfortunately, the area is also home to the tsetse fly, which transmits trypanosomosis. Often lethal, the disease reduces fertility, weight gain, meat and milk production and makes the cattle too weak to be used for ploughing or transport.

A government study estimates that when the tsetse fly is completely eradicated in the Niayes farmers will earn €1.2 million ($1.6 million) more per year because they will spend less on treating animals and earning more profit from selling milk and meat.

NaijaAgroNet further gathered that the government has an ambitious plan to introduce exotic livestock breeds and create a modern meat and dairy sector in the area, which is near the capital Dakar.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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