A tug-of-war between senior government officials and a veterinary agency has seen the Kenyan taxpayers lose Sh92 million after a new foot-and-mouth disease vaccine expired.
The Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute (Kevevapi) had manufactured the oil-based vaccine in 2017 to replace a water-based one, Nation reported Tuesday.
However, Ministry of Agriculture officials rejected its launch because they wanted to be taken for a benchmarking trip in Brazil, where the vaccine is in use.
“We were unable to launch the vaccine because some senior officials in the ministry deliberately frustrated the efforts,” a senior official at the institute was quoted by the daily.
The vaccine reportedly expired last year amid a 6-month shortage, which saw thousands of animals succumb to foot-and-mouth disease.
“It is clear from the records that the oil-based vaccine has expired. However, I am not privy to what happened as by that time I had not been appointed to the ministry,” Livestock PS Harry Kimutai said.
Kenya is also said to have lost foreign exchange as Kevevapi is the only institution that produces the vaccine in East Africa, selling to Tanzania, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
According to vets, the delay in releasing the vaccine has also subjected farmers to losses from the high costs of protecting their animals from the disease.
“Ordinarily, the oil-based vaccine is used only once a year as opposed to the conventional one that requires livestock to be vaccinated twice a year, making it an expensive affair,” a vet told the Nation.