Foot-and-mouth disease vaccination pact signed

KARACHI: US Consul General Michael Dodman joined officials from the Karachi Dairy Farmers Association and the Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) of the United Nations at the Landhi Government Veterinary Hospital to sign a foot-and-mouth disease vaccination cost-sharing agreement.

The agreement guarantees access to cattle vaccinations previously provided to the farmers as part of a US. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sponsored program to combat foot-and-mouth disease in Pakistan’s cattle population.

Speaking at the event, Consul General Michael Dodman said, “This devastating disease is estimated to cause $82 million in economic losses to rural Pakistani farmers every year. This simple intervention has improved the lives of dairy farmers and their families, and strengthened Pakistan’s rural economy.”

The agreement provides for access to low-cost vaccinations for local dairy farmers whose experience with the USDA-funded vaccination program convinced them of the financial benefits of vaccinating their herds against foot-and-mouth disease. Research has shown that regular vaccinations of dairy cattle against foot-and-mouth disease result in greater than 15% increase in milk production.

Following the ceremony, also attended by Dr Muhammad Afzal, Project Coordinator for the FAO, Consul General Dodman visited a local farm and spoke with farmers about how the vaccination program has benefitted their operations.