Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Treasury avails $2,3 million for animal surveillance, disease control

Treasury avails $2,3 million for animal surveillance, disease control

TREASURY has pledged $2,3 million next year for animal disease surveillance, prevention and procurement of vaccines to contain outbreaks of diseases such as anthrax, foot-and-mouth (FMD), lumpy skin and black leg.

Nqobile Bhebhe/SIMON PHIRI

Presenting the 2016 National Budget in Parliament last Thursday, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said livestock diseases had become a major threat to productivity to the farming sector, hence the need to set aside resources for vaccination programmes.

“During the 2014/2015 season, the cattle herd was under immense pressure caused by the epidemic of the foot-and-mouth disease, which continued to spread as a result of increased mixing of wildlife and cattle, as cattle moved wider in search of water, owing to the dry spells experienced during the season,” Chinamasa said.

“Under difficult financial challenges, government managed to contain the spread of the disease by vaccinating cattle in the affected and neighbouring areas, with a total of 450 000 cattle having been vaccinated, while over 600 000 cattle have been inspected to date.

“Movement of cattle has also been banned, as well as exhibition of livestock at the country’s agriculture shows. I, therefore, propose availing $2,3 million in 2016 towards procurement of vaccines to control and contain the endemic diseases.”

The southern parts of the country are normally susceptible to outbreaks of contagious animal diseases.

Early this year, cattle sales and movement were suspended and banned in Matabeleland provinces, following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Bulawayo, a development that seriously affected thousands of commercial and communal farmers, who survive on cattle ranching.

Chinamasa urged all newly-resettled farmers to invest in their farm boundary fences to control the spread of diseases and curb road accidents caused by stray cattle.

A major case of FMD in the country was clinically detected on August 16, 2000, in a cattle feedlot in south-western Zimbabwe.
Prior to the outbreak, the country was an exporter of meat, particularly to the European Union.

The outbreaks have adversely affected the meat industry.

Meanwhile, Midlands province has recorded a major decrease in cases of stock theft this year primarily due to the successful implementation of the cattle branding programme by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in 2011.

This was revealed by Midlands provincial police commander, Abigail Moyo at a provincial re-launch of cattle branding held in Zvishavane last Friday.

She said cases of stocktheft in the Midlands province this year have decreased by at least 55%, while the number of stolen beasts decreased by 63% during the same period.


Moyo attributed the decline in stocktheft cases to cattle branding and efforts by the police to curb stocktheft in the province and the country at large.

“As a result of concerted efforts to curb stocktheft, the Midlands province recorded 345 cases of stocktheft during the period January to October 2015, as compared to 762 cases reported in the same period in year 2014, giving a 55% decrease,” Moyo said.

“A total of 639 cattle were stolen this year, while 1 742 cattle were stolen during same period in 2014, translating to a 63% decrease.”

She said only 96 suspects of stocktheft involving cattle were arrested this year.

“A total of 96 suspects were arrested for stocktheft involving cattle, while 2 425 were arrested for other stock theft related offences,” Moyo continued.

Cattle branding allows farmers to stamp unique and long-lasting brands on their beasts to give them distinct identities.

The government, through the veterinary department, has since introduced zonal brands that work to identify cattle basing on provinces, districts and communities, as this has proven an effective way to control unsanctioned cattle movement and stocktheft.

Moyo implored all farmers to adopt the cattle branding programme and help reduce stocktheft.

“I would like to implore all farmers to acquire brand certificates, branding irons, as well as having all their cattle branded.
This will no doubt help our livestock farmers safeguard their stock from theft, as cattle rustlers are unlikely to target branded cattle,” she said.

“These brands will assist the control of cattle movement as a way of monitoring and prevention of the spread of diseases.”


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