Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Lack of funding hinders tsetse fly control

Lack of funding hinders tsetse fly control

Walter Nyamukondiwa and John Murwira
SHORTAGE of funding is stalling intervention programmes to control tsetse fly infestations in Hurungwe and Kariba districts of Mashonaland West Province.

This has resulted in intermittent outbreaks of diseases in both humans and livestock. Three cases of people suffering from sleeping sickness have so far been reported in Makuti, while 47 head of cattle were affected in Hurungwe District.

Limited and erratic funding is threatening to roll back progress registered in tsetse control programmes running in Binga, Gokwe, Mbire, Doma, Mahuwe, Kariba, Rukomichi and Hurungwe, among other districts in Zimbabwe.

Makuti and Vuti have been identified as the epicentres of the diseases. Department of Tsetse Fly Control deputy director responsible for operations Mr Alban Mhindurwa said Chemakunguwo area in Vuti West was the most affected.

“We have had at least 12 to 14 cases of nagana in animals in Vuti in two months, which is too much,” he said. “There have been two infections in Makuti and another one along the Kariba Road.

“In most of the cases that we get, people would have travelled to areas in Chirundu, Makuti and generally in Kariba district.” The Department of Tsetse Fly Control, said Mr Mhindurwa, planned to lay trap nets to cover at least 1 680 square kilometres countrywide this year. At least 450sq km of land will be covered in Makuti, Kariba and the Matusadonha National Park in Mashonaland West Province.

“This is a plan of action, but implementation depends on release of requested funds from Treasury,” said Mr Mhindurwa. “In most cases, we have allocations on paper, but they are either not honoured or released way after the ideal time for implementation.”

Failure to get funding, he said, might derail interventions, which were scheduled to start in Makuti between March and August this year. In the programme, treated nets are laid in strategic places to trap tsetse flies as part of control measures, coupled with cattle dipping.

The nets gradually lose efficacy through weather elements after about nine to 12 months or are disturbed by wild animals, meaning that they have to be laid every year.

Mr Mhindurwa could not give the exact amount of money needed for the programme. Tsetse control is also being affected by farmers’ failure to report cattle that would have been affected by nagana, opting to treat them at home. Lack of resources has also affected inspections, which are supposed to be done on a monthly basis by the Department of Tsetse Fly Control and the Department of Veterinary Services. Villagers in Siakobvu and Mola have called on the Department of Tsetse Fly Control in Kariba to avail chemicals at tsetse fly control points.

A recent visit to Hurungwe revealed that tsetse fly control points were not being attended to because of critical shortage of chemicals. The situation was also the same at Mola tsetse fly control point where an attendant was available, but had no chemicals. Kariba legislator Cde Isaac Mackenzie confirmed the shortage of chemicals for tsetse control.

“There is a problem because at times when you pass these boom gates you would find that there are no chemicals,” he said.


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