Palestinian farmers sound alarm over foot-and-mouth outbreak | Mena – Gulf News

“I got no help from the PA, not even a telephone call,” Basheer, who owns thousands of livestock near the city of Nablus, told AFP, voicing frustration over what he described as inaction from the Palestinian agriculture ministry.

Palestinian farmers blamed the PA for halting a vaccinations programme that had proven essential in protecting livestock against an endemic disease.

And with animals absent from large stretches of grazing land, farmers fear land grabs from Jewish settlers who have repeatedly set up illegal outposts on West Bank land they claim is unused.

The PA “should protect us because we protect the land,” Basheer said. “The farms protect the land… If you remove the farmers, Israel takes the land.”

Farmers ‘destroyed’

A new strain of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), which causes potentially lethal fevers and blisters in young animals, was detected in livestock last November in Jordan.

It soon spread across the West Bank, a territory occupied by Israel since 1967, and heavily reliant on agriculture.

But the PA’s agriculture ministry has not carried out a regular vaccination drive since 2019.

A ministry official, who requested anonymity, told AFP that a normal year sees 60 to 70 per cent of goats and sheep in the West Bank vaccinated against FMD.

That figure dropped to 20 percent in 2020 and 2021, the official said.

 

Source: Palestinian farmers sound alarm over foot-and-mouth outbreak | Mena – Gulf News