For millions of smallholder farmers around the world, small ruminants – sheep and goats – provide a vital source of food, income and security. Threatening this, however, is a devastating and highly contagious livestock disease known as peste des petits ruminants (PPR), or sheep and goat plague. As one of the world’s most damaging livestock diseases, PPR spreads rapidly through herds, killing anywhere from 30 to 70 percent of those infected and placing the livelihoods of farmers and their households at significant risk.
First identified in Côte d'Ivoire nearly 80 years ago, PPR continues to threaten an estimated 2 billion heads — 80 percent — of the global sheep and goat population in more than 70 countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. While concerted global efforts to eradicate the disease have resulted in the development of vaccines over the decades, reaching farmers’ remote and often inaccessible locations with these life-saving PPR vaccines has been costly and logistically difficult.
Overcoming barriers: Nepal at the forefront in global fight
Overcoming these barriers is the focus of an innovative partnership between Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, a USAID-funded program that builds partnerships with the private sector to deliver agricultural innovations to smallholder farmers, and Hester Biosciences Nepal Private Limited (Hester Biosciences). Through this partnership, Hester Biosciences is now the first private sector firm to produce a thermostable version of the PPR vaccine, originally developed at Tufts University in the United States, that offers transformative potential to end the spread of the disease in Nepal and beyond.
The International Goat Association promotes goat research and development for the benefit of humankind, to alleviate poverty, to promote prosperity and to improve the quality of life.