Albania to lift domestic meat trade ban following vaccination campaign

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 8, 2016 15:42
Agriculture Minister Edmond Panariti

Agriculture Minister Edmond Panariti

TIRANA, Aug. 8 - Albania will soon lift a temporary ban on domestic meat trade following a nationwide vaccination campaign to curb the viral lumpy skin disease on cattle, Agriculture Minister Edmond Panariti has said.

Albania imposed a two-week ban on domestic meat trade in late July after more than 270 head of cattle were identified infected lumpy skin disease, also known as Dermatitis nodularis, in northeastern Albania. The temporary measure was imposed to prevent  the spread of the viral disease which is transmitted quickly among animals but is not reported dangerous to humans.

"We will gradually start easing the moratorium regime. In a few days we will allow the movement of cattle from farms to butcher shops because we are now safe that animals are protected from this infection," minister Panariti said last weekend inspecting vaccination at a farm in the region of Fier, southwestern Albania.

The minister  said Albania managed to save some 200,000 head of cattle, worth about Euro 300 million, from the nationwide vaccination campaign in the past couple of weeks.

Albania had some 504,000 heads of cattle in 2015, with dairy cows accounting for about three-quarters, according to state statistical institute, INSTAT.

Albania has yet to meet standards to export livestock products, as well as meat to the EU market.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, says the lumpy skin disease has been present in the Balkan region since 2015 with outbreaks in Turkey, Greece and more recently also Bulgaria and Macedonia.

The disease affecting cattle has considerable economic impact due to production losses such as milk drop, reduced quality of skins and movement and trade restrictions imposed on the affected areas, say FAO experts.

Agriculture is a vital sector in the Albanian economy, employing about half of the country's population but providing only about 20 percent of the GDP.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 8, 2016 15:42