This project comes at an opportune time when livestock diseases are occurring in countries thought to have better equipped national veterinary services in terms of human and capital resources. The recent Food and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreaks reported in developed countries showcases that livestock diseases indeed have no boundaries and can have a devastating impact on animal productivity and production, on trade in live animals, meat and other animal products, and consequently, on the overall process of economic development.
Livestock are important in supporting the livelihoods of poor livestock keepers, traders and laborers throughout the developing world. This is because livestock have a variety of characteristics that make them important contributors to sustainable rural development. They provide marketable products that can be produced by small-scale, household production systems, and are generally of higher value and less vulnerable to critical harvest timing than many crops. As an agricultural product, livestock are particularly attractive as a means for rural households to participate in urban-based economic growth. Livestock are also productive assets, which contribute directly to farm output through animal traction and indirectly as a store of wealth for future investment. Finally, they can contribute to soil fertility and recycling of agricultural waste.