By Alois Vinga
GOVERNMENT has finally committed to availing dipping some chemicals, years after the January disease decimated heads leading to a massive loss of livestock worth $4.3 billion.
The deadly disease, which was first noticed by communal farmers around 2015, has to date destroyed over 300 000 cattle.
Most cattle owners affected by the crisis could not afford to purchase the required dipping chemicals.
With a combination of reduced dipping sessions and impact of a recurrent drought period, most livestock succumbed.
Presenting the 2021 proposed national budget last week Thursday, Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube finally acknowledged the urgent need to avail dipping chemicals.
Said the minister, “Arrangements are underway to increase the dipping sessions from the current 32 to 48 dipping sessions per year. To sustain the anticipated dipping sessions, government will avail $577 million for the procurement of dipping chemicals.”
In addition, government committed to supporting the procurement of 600 000 kg of tick grease for distribution to vulnerable households, with 80 000 kg having already been distributed to the targeted beneficiaries.
The blueprint also provides for the upgrading of at least 50 existing dipping facilities per province as well as rehabilitation of dip tanks countrywide.
“Government remains committed towards controlling the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease especially in the non-traditional areas of Mashonaland and Manicaland provinces.
“This entails conducting regular vaccinations of cattle in the traditional red zones as well as contain the spread of the disease through fencing of National Parks,” Ncube said.
The treasury boss said the erecting of game fence will ensure permanent separation of the African Buffalo which is the host for the disease.
In line with the plans, resources amounting to $650 million will be availed during the completion of the remaining 100km fence at Gonarezhou National Park.
“Sustainable growth in the sector will hinge on resilience building efforts against shocks, in addition to productivity enhancement initiatives mentioned above. The sector is projected to grow on average by above 7%,” Ncube added.