Country faced with an acute shortage of veterinary officers
An acute shortage of Veterinary Doctors in the country has threatened access of some animal products into international markets.
According to the Kenya Veterinary Association (KVA), only about 400 veterinarians were in government service across the country.
The KVA’s Chairman, Dr. Kamau Kibui however, said since livestock development was a devolved function, the County Governments should take charge and collaborate with available private animal health practitioners.
The official said the shortage was hurting the sector since 2012, blaming some county governments of failing to absorb the more than 2,000 private veterinary officers stranded without jobs after graduating from the various universities.
“Yes the Kenya Veterinary Board (KVB) is charged with policy formulation and policing of the sector, but it should go an extra mile and advise the county governments that extension services for livestock belong to them,” the official stressed.
Kibui commended most of the Mt Kenya region county governments that have already started supplementing the services with the private veterinary officers who were engaged in their localities and encouraged other counties to borrow a leaf.
“Counties like Muranga, Nyeri, Meru and Embu have come up in a big way to support the Dairy Sector by zero rating Artificial Insemination Services while some are charging as little as Sh. 200 as opposed to Kirinyaga where farmers pay up to Sh.2,000. You can wonder how many farmers can afford such a rate,” he reveled.
The official also admitted that some farmers have been left to administer drugs to their animals, especially in the arid areas, risking rejection of animal products at the international markets.
He cited Isiolo, Mandera, Wajir, Marsabit, Turkana and West Pokot as some of the counties where the farmers have been left to treat their animals unprofessionally rendering them unable to make the right diagnoses and treatment.
Kibui said since veterinary officers who graduate every year no longer find jobs either in the National Government or the County Governments, most students were now shying off from the profession.
“The space in the private sector is already saturated and I can foresee a situation one day when the country will have no qualified veterinary officers,” he said.
Kibui said a lot has to be done in the sector to enable the country meet the required export standards of the animal products as it used to be in past.
“The country has less than 400 Veterinary Officers and this is in some way resulting to ban of export of animal products,” he regretted.
By Irungu Mwangi