Animal health perceptions and challenges among smallholder farmers around Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India: a study using participatory epidemiological techniques.

Andy Hopker, Naveen Pandey, Sophie Hopker, Dibyajyoti Saikia, Jadumoni Goswami, Rebecca Marsland, Michael Thrusfield, Roopam Saikia, Sumanta Kundu, Neil Sargison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Improvements to smallholder farming are essential to improvements in rural prosperity.
Small farmers in the Kaziranga region of Assam operate mixed farming enterprises in a resource limited environment, which is subject to seasonal flooding. Participatory techniques, were used to elucidate the animal health challenges experienced in this landscape
in order to inform and guide future animal health education and interventions. The flooding is essential for agricultural activities, but is a source of major losses and disruption. Farmers experience significant losses to their crops due to raiding by wild species such as elephants; predation of livestock by wild carnivores is also of concern. Access to veterinary services and medicines is limited by both financial and geographic constraints. Interviewees discussed nutritional and management issues such as poor availability of fodder and grazing land, while meeting attendees preferred to concentrate discussions on animal health issues.
Livestock keepers were adept and consistent at describing disease syndromes. The key challenges identified by farmers were: foot-and-mouth disease; Newcastle disease; haemorrhagic septicaemia; chronic fasciolosis; diarrhoea; bloating diseases; goat pox; and sarcoptic mange. Improvements in the efficiency of farming in this region is a prerequisite for the local achievement of United Nations Sustainable development goals. There exist clear opportunities to increase productivity and prosperity among farmers in this region through a
combination of vaccination programmes and planned animal management schemes, driven by a programme of participatory farmer education.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS ONE
Early online date24 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Sep 2020

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