FAO in Namibia

FAO supports Namibia's animal health vaccination campaign

An animal health technician from DVS vaccinates cattle in Musu, Kavango West region. ©FAO/P. Tobias

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is providing support to the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) within the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR) for a critical animal health vaccination campaign across Namibia's Northern Communal Areas (NCAs).

This vaccination drive is targeting common and potentially devastating animal health diseases affecting Namibian livestock, including Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD), and Anthrax, among others. This initiative, bolstered by FAO's support, represents a significant stride towards a healthier livestock sector in Namibia.

Promoting animal health

Eugene Kunguatjivi, FAO National Project Coordinator, emphasized the campaign's importance, stating, "This animal health vaccination campaign is vital for safeguarding Namibia's livestock population and protecting the livelihoods of our farmers. FAO is proud to partner with the DVS in this crucial effort, ensuring the health and productivity of animals across the Northern Communal Areas."

FAO's support is delivered through the project titled “Emergency Technical Support to Control the Spread of Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) in Namibia.” Through this project, FAO has provided critical resources to enhance DVS's capacity to reach remote areas and effectively implement the campaign. This includes provision of items such as a vehicle to improve DVS's mobility, vaccination and camping equipment to guarantee efficient and safe vaccine administration for livestock, and ear tags essential for animal identification and data collection through the National Animal Identification and Traceability System (NAMLITS), a crucial tool for disease surveillance and control.

Witnessing the Impact

FAO officials visited Musu in the Nkurenkuru constituency, Kavango West region in March 2024, where they witnessed firsthand the vaccination of livestock brought by farmers from Musu and surrounding areas. The vaccination in Musu, a rural area, exemplified the ongoing campaign's extensive reach across all NCAs above the veterinary cordon fence.

The vaccination campaign prioritizes protecting livestock in the NCAs, a vital source of income, food security, and livelihood for many Namibian communities. Farmers like Hausiku Hamatuvi from Musu noted the importance of this initiative, stating, "Vaccinating my cattle gives me peace of mind. Losing livestock to disease is a hardship I wouldn't want to experience again. This campaign is a lifesaver for farmers like me."

Collaboration is key

The campaign's success relies heavily on collaboration between FAO and DVS. Dr. Paul Set, State Veterinarian at DVS, echoed this sentiment, stating, "The generous support from FAO, particularly the vehicle and vaccination equipment, has significantly boosted our capacity to reach more farmers and animals in remote areas. This collaborative vaccination campaign is essential for controlling major diseases and strengthening Namibia's animal health system."

In total, 1 285 820 cattle were vaccinated during this campaign. By safeguarding cattle herds and other livestock from disease, the FAO-backed vaccination campaign contributes to improved food security, economic stability, and the overall well-being of Namibia's agricultural sector.