Outbreak of severe foot and mouth disease (FMD) of cattle across the country has been severely causing immense economic loss to the farmers as it is increasing drastically year-on-year basis, according to a recent study.
The study, conducted by Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI), has recently revealed country's farmers are incurring loss worth Tk 160 billion per year due to the endemic disease which has been a major barrier to them to thrive their cattle rearing and fattening.
The economic loss was Tk 100 billion in 2010 and Tk 120 billion in 2012 to 2013, another study of BLRI disclosed.
For calculating financial loss due to FMD outbreak, only direct losses such as milk production loss of affected in-milk cows, veterinary costs for treatment of affected cattle, death loss, weight loss of fattening cattle, labour cost for taking care of affected cattle were taken into account.
The total financial loss was calculated over Tk 39.62 million for 652 affected households, as per the study.
The percentage of loss incurred was the highest for death of affected cattle (58.34 per cent) followed by weight loss of fattening cattle (13.14 per cent), treatment cost (12.29 per cent), reduction in milk yield (9.54 per cent) and man power loss for taking care of affected cattle (6.67 per cent).
In this study, an attempt was made to analyse the morbidity, mortality and fatality of cattle affected by FMD and financial loss incurred therein.
FMD is a severe, highly contagious disease that causes immense economic loss due to mortality, reduced milk production, treatment cost for affected cattle and weight loss of fattening cattle, which occurs in Bangladesh almost every year, the study said.
For this study, data were collected from 652 affected households of Dhaka, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Khulna and Chittagong divisions.
Data were collected from July 2017 to June 2018 using a predesigned questionnaire responding to the objectives of the study.
In total, there were 3,792 crossbred and 1,959 native cattle in the affected households, as per the study.
Area-wise overall morbidity, fatality and mortality were 50.29 per cent, 13.11 per cent and 6.59 per cent respectively in crossbred cattle and 77.59 per cent, 9.67 per cent and 7.50 per cent respectively in native cattle.
No buffalo was found in the affected farms. Prevalence of FMD was found to be the highest in the months of January-February (31.44 per cent).
It was reported that only 20.71 per cent farmers vaccinated their cattle against FMD. Of the farmers vaccinated their cattle, 89.63 per cent used vaccine produced by Department of Livestock Services (DLS) and 10.37 per cent used imported vaccines.
Talking to the FE, Dr. Md. Giasuddin, Head, Animal health Research Division and Director, National Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza (OIE Reference Laboratory) of BLRI, said the marginal farmers are vehemently being loser and also disgruntled due to the FMD.
They even did not collect the vaccine due to the unavailability of the dose for the affected animals, he said.
As Bangladesh has now 25 million cattle, it needs 50 million vaccines every year but our country can only provide 4.0 million vaccines that are very little for the animals, he added.
Of the total 4.0 million doses, the Livestock Research Institute (LRI) is only providing 2.0 million vaccines and the private sector importing 2.0 million vaccines from the abroad, he further said.
The country needs at least 80 per cent coverage of the vaccines to save the animals as well as protect the farmers from the great economic loss every year, Dr. Giasuddin said.
He also emphasised the effective and efficient role of government to this end.
The government should encourage the private sectors to import such vaccines as per the need from the abroad, the animal expert said.
To save the country's animal from such contiguous and severe disease; the government needs to make zoning system, collecting more vaccines which cover 80 per cent across the country and stop importing animals from another country specially during the Eid-ul-Adha, the animal researcher said.
Dr Md. Abu Sufian, assistant director (Animal health and Administration) of Department of Livestock Services (DLS) told the FE that the department has taken a project to eradicate the FDM and PPR from the country.
The project will help increase production of vaccines that will remove the huge shortage of vaccines, he hoped.
Through the project, the DLS will be able to enhance its monitoring at the grassroot level, the assistant director said.
He also mentioned that the DLS is also trying to increase the coverage of vaccines upto 70 per cent to 80 per cent.
Dr Sufian also laid emphasis on increasing production of vaccines locally, strict monitoring at the field level, cattle movement control, creating awareness and stopping cattle import from other countries.
The research was funded by the project of "Research on FMD and PPR in Bangladesh" of Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock.