Government moves to curb livestock diseases as 200 000 cattle die

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By Alois Vinga

AT least 200 000 cattle, have been lost to the tick borne diseases but government is working to stop the spread of problem, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.

Mnangagwa told thousands of people who braved the rains to attend the country’s 39th Independence celebrations in Harare, that the move by government will stem further loses.

“To address the challenges in the livestock sub-sector, government is increasing financial support towards the procurement of essential vaccines against high impact diseases. In addition veterinary doctors have been deployed countrywide,” he said.

A 2018 fourth quarter report revealed that Zimbabwe again lost 200 000 cattle last year, owing to disease outbreaks as well as the severe drought which hit the country last year.

Theileriosis, another disease which also affects cattle was reported in some parts of the country last year owing to rainfall activity. According to the Veterinary Services Department, the disease was reported at 158 dip tanks with major prevalence in Mashonaland East’s Wedza, Goromonzi and Chikomba districts, Mhondoro-Ngezi in Mashonaland West as well as parts of Manicaland.

Early this year, Livestock Farmers Union chairperson, Sifiso Sibanda said the future looked bleak for livestock farmers in the country owing to escalating diseases, critical shortages of stock feed and the devastating effects of the El Nino induced droughts.

To make matters worse, the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council recently cautioned that the viability of the industry was under threat because costs of livestock feed had become unsustainable.

Stockfeed prices went up by about 20 percent and players in the sector have projected meat sales reduction as much as 20 to 30 percent.