Following the upgrading of a biomolecular lab thanks to the CAZCOM project, the launch of the PACMAN project strengthens the autonomy of Zimbabwe to control animal and zoonotic diseases.
On November 16, the French Development Agency (AFD) and the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) signed an agreement launching the PACMAN project, in partnership with the IRD, the Department of Veterinary Services and the University of Zimbabwe.
The creation of a biotechnology platform on the University of Zimbabwe campus will allow the Southern African country to quickly diagnose the animal, plant and zoonotic diseases circulating on its territory, set up effective controls and develop its own animal and public health strategies and programs.
This 3-year project?Budget: 2 million euros will start at the end of the year and will help to support the country’s agricultural sector. Agriculture in Zimbabwe represents almost 15% of the GDP, more than 30% of export revenues and provides a direct or indirect livelihood for around 70% of the country's population. Zimbabwe is currently facing a food security challenge, due to increased frequency of drought, degradation of arable land and rapid population growth.
Florian Liégeois is an IRD virologist working in Harare since September 2020: “The livestock sector is threatened by increasing prevalence of animal diseases and needs stronger veterinary systems to better control those diseases and estimate the risks linked to zoonotic diseases.”
The project’s official launch followed the inauguration of a molecular biology laboratory that is essential to Zimbabwe's autonomy in this field. The PACMAN project will complement the actions started by the CAZCOM project, which contributed to the training of dozens of Zimbabwean staff involved in zoonotic diseases and to the establishment of the laboratory with international standards.
Official opening of the lab's new equipment
The PACMAN project has three main components:
- Strengthening Zimbabwe’s biotechnology capabilities and making them accessible
- Training partners in the latest molecular biology and serology techniques for disease surveillance and control, quality control and research
- Setting up an action, partnership, financing and sustainability plan for the biotechnology platform to ensure its operation and impact over the long term. The project will also set up a management and monitoring plan.
The project implementation will significantly improve the autonomy of Zimbabwe to detect and control diseases, which have a high economic impact, thus strengthening the resilience of the agricultural economy to the effects of climate change.
Learn more about the project :