News and updates on research on livestock value chains by the International Livestock Research Institute and partners

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New journal article: An assessment of the regional and national socio-economic impacts of the 2007 Rift Valley fever outbreak in Kenya

Researchers at the Market Opportunities theme of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) have assessed and quantified the local and national socio-economic impacts of the 2006-07 outbreak of Rift Valley fever in Kenya.

Results of their study appear in an article published in the August 2010 supplement of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

The authors of the study, Karl Rich and Francis Wanyoike, carried out a rapid assessment of the livestock production and marketing chains in Garissa and Ijara districts of northeastern Kenya.

They focused on four main categories of actors: producers, traders, slaughterhouses and butchers.

They also assessed the impact of the Rift Valley fever outbreak on the national economy by use of the most recently available social accounting matrix for Kenya, which made it possible to estimate the changes in the value of national income commensurate with the disease outbreak.

Producers were hardest hit as a result of the death of their animals from the disease, with total economic losses from livestock deaths valued at over 610 million Kenya Shillings (KES), or over 9.3 million US dollars (USD)  at the then exchange rate of USD 1 = KES 65.

These losses had negative spin-off effects on household food security and future income.

Traders and slaughterhouses were affected by movement bans on livestock and decreased consumer demand for meat which greatly affected sales of live animals and meat products.

Several slaughterhouses and butcheries were forced to close for up to three months until the ban was lifted.

Thus, a significant number of people who indirectly depend on the slaughterhouses for their livelihoods (for instance, people involved in tea sales and cart transport of meat) were also negatively impacted as a result of the closure.

"The idling of the Garissa and Mwingi slaughterhouses resulted in economic losses of KES 189,000 (USD 2917) and KES 52,800 (USD 812) per month, respectively," the authors report.

At the national level, the study estimates that the Rift Valley fever outbreak led to a KES 2.1 billion loss to the Kenyan economy, with most of the impacts being felt in the livestock sector.

However, non-agricultural sectors also experienced economic losses, key among which were the transportation, trade, chemicals and petroleum industries.

Noting that socio-economic analysis of animal diseases often overlooks the multiplicity of stakeholders that are affected, the authors point to a need for analyses to adequately capture the diverse impacts of animal diseases instead of focusing just on the producer-level impacts.

"The failure to capture these diverse impacts may have important implications on the evolution and control of disease that may accentuate its impact," the authors caution.

Read the abstract here.

Citation
Rich KM and Wanyoike F. 2010. An assessment of the regional and national socio-economic impacts of the 2007 Rift Valley fever outbreak in Kenya. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 83(2 Suppl): 52-57.

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