The cost of immunising cattle against East Coast fever by the infection and treatment method has been calculated for a pilot scheme in Kaloleni Division of the Coast Province of Kenya by using a spreadsheet model. The cost was calculated to be KSh 544 (US$25) per animal (in 1990 values). If a farmer were to bear all this cost, immunisation would be financially profitable in grade cattle, but the benefits of immunisation would not be sufficient to justify the immunisation of zebu cattle. For these animals, the cost of immunisation would have to be in the range of KSh 230 to KSh 415 per animal, or the farm-gate price of milk would have to increase by at least 80 per cent from KSh 7.50 to 13.50/litre, or the government would have to subsidise the cost either partially or fully. The first two possibilities are realistic, because the costs of routine immunisation are likely to be lower than for the pilot scheme, and because the increasing demand for milk is likely to push up prices in the liberalised markets. If both the grade and zebu cattle in Kaloleni Division were targets for immunisation, it is estimated that there would be 14,500 head for immunisation annually, costing an estimated KSh 8 million. The spreadsheet model used to assess the economics of immunisation in the Kaloleni Division could be applied to determine the government or private veterinary service charges for immunisation that would be financially profitable to farmers in a defined cattle production system in any division, district or country. The model could also be used to estimate the annual total number of cattle for immunisation in a target cattle production system and thus help with the financial planning for the exercise.
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