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Ministry allocates $1m for laboratory upgrade

Avinesh Gopal
Friday, January 03, 2014

THE Agriculture Ministry's Animal Health and Production Department is upgrading its veterinary pathology laboratory.

Animal Health and Production director Tomasi Tunabuna said the $1million upgrade was intended to quickly confirm the results of tests carried out on animals, particularly for brucellosis.

"We have different tests to quickly specify or confirm whether it's the brucellosis bacteria. And last year, for the first time we grew that bacteria in our lab," he said.

Mr Tunabuna said the department had the support of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, World Organisation for Animal Health and other NGOs.

"We work in collaboration with others on the brucellosis program and we will continue with the brucellosis eradication work this year because of the large budget.

"We have managed to stop the spread of brucellosis but we will eradicate it now. There is no time frame for the eradication, as we need support of everyone."

In a statement on Wednesday, the Fiji Co-operative Dairy Company Limited said the dairy industry lost 640,000 litres of raw milk in 2013 when 350 cows were put to sleep after contracting brucellosis.

Company CEO Sachida Nand said the cows were put down to stop the spread of the infectious bovine disease.