Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Bio-compartment measure to curb FMD

Bio-compartment measure to curb FMD


The Chronicle

Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent

THE Matabeleland South Veterinary Services Department has advised farmers to set up bio-economic compartments on their farms to effectively control the spread of foot and mouth disease (FMD).

In an interview the province’s veterinary officer, Dr Enart Mdlongwa said in order to make farms bio-secure, farmers need to erect double fences, have their animals tested regularly and regulate movement of animals and people.

“We want to move away from the traditional way of curbing foot and mouth disease where we have to quarantine animals to prevent the spread of the disease.

“We are saying an advanced way of containing the disease is to have farmers setting up compartments that are bio-secure,” he said.

“In this case farmers will have to erect double fences around their animals so that they don’t come into contact with other animals as single fences enable contact.

“People that come into the farms will also have to be disinfected while animals that will be coming in will have to be quarantined and tested first before mixing with the other animals.

“Farmers with bio-secure farms will also have to have their animals tested regularly to ensure there is no infection.”

Dr Mdlongwa said once bio-secure compartments were established, animals could be confined to secure and restricted locations.

He said farmers could also establish feedlots within those bio-secure compartments in order to improve their breeds.

Dr Mdlongwa said the new measure could help farmers to export their cattle to lucrative markets.

He said a few pedigree farmers had already taken up the initiative while the bulk of farmers in the province were reluctant.

“If all farmers in the province could buy into this initiative and have bio-compartments then they could export their produce.

“We have sold the ideas to the farmers but the uptake is low. Farmers can come together according to their locations, mobilise resources and establish common compartments, which they can share.

“This will go a long way in curbing the spread of foot and mouth,” he said.

The Veterinary Services Department has expressed concern over cases of illegal movement of cattle, which is rampant in the province.

To curb FMD, all movements of cattle require one to have a veterinary animal movement permit and a police clearance.

Dr Mdlongwa urged farmers to adhere to these requirements as they were meant to protect their animals.

He said last year a total of 109 404 animals were vaccinated across the province to contain the outbreak of the disease.

The department managed to vaccinate red zones and contained all the outbreaks that were recorded in Insiza, Umzingwane and Beitbridge before they could spill into other areas, said Dr Mdlongwa.

He said last year 34 animals were destroyed in order to curb the disease.

In October last year 18 cattle belonging to a Beitbridge farmer were destroyed after their owner illegally moved them from an infected place to a safe place.

— @DubeMatutu


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