Govt avails $1,5m for foot and mouth control

via Govt avails $1,5m for foot and mouth control | The Herald August 17, 2015 by Elita Chikwati

Government has disbursed about $1, 5 million towards the control of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), which has affected livestock in most parts of the country, a senior Government official has said. This follows major outbreaks of FMD in Matabeleland North and South, Manicaland, Midlands and Masvingo provinces.

Minister of Finance and Economic Development Cde Patrick Chinamasa said animal diseases and risk management interventions by Government facilitated importation of the necessary vaccines by the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) from Botswana.

“Further disbursement will be undertaken in line with disease control requirements. Measures to realise full containment of the outbreak, will have to be complemented by increased compliance with Veterinary guidelines over movement of cattle,” he said.

Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development (MAMID) deputy minister responsible for livestock, Cde Paddy Zhanda, recently said the allocated funding was enough to procure 750 000 doses of vaccines.

“This together with an additional 450 000 doses from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), will be adequate to react to current active outbreaks.

“Unfortunately the sole supplier, Botswana Vaccine Institute, does not have adequate vaccine stocks to meet our requirements immediately as there are outbreaks in other SADC countries. We are expecting 450 000 doses from FAO, which will go a long way in preventing further spread of the disease. We hope to get the balance within a month to do booster vaccinations,” he said.

Cde Zhanda said in Masvingo province, Mwenezi, Chiredzi, Chivi were affected. In Midlands, Mberengwa, Zvishavane, Shurugwi, Chirumhanzu, Gokwe South, Gokwe North and Kwekwe have been hit by the disease.

“In Matabeleland South, Beitbridge, Gwanda, Insiza, Umzingwane and Matobo districts are affected. The situation is now under control in peri urban Bulawayo and in Chipinge South,” he said.

Cde Zhanda said recent outbreaks were recorded in Kwekwe, Gokwe North and Beitbridge West. He said MAMID was carrying awareness campaigns in all affected areas to educate farmers.

“All affected areas are under quarantine. Where active infection has died down, movement of cattle for direct slaughter under veterinary supervision is allowed.

“We are working towards engaging all players in the livestock industry to work together with DVS in controlling the disease and put it under control. We are also working with officials from Botswana Veterinary Services to prevent spread to that country,” he said.

The DVS requires between $2 million and $3 million for annual vaccination and surveillance programmes when controls are limited to hotspots.

Outbreak areas require repeated vaccination at four-month intervals until 6-18 months after the last case has been recorded.

FMD affects livestock production. Cattle and pig herds affected by FMD suffer from depressed production.

Affected animals cannot walk to grazing pastures and water, causing weight loss. The animals also fail to eat due to the pain of the sores in their mouths. Young calves may die from infection or because their mothers cannot feed them due to pain in their milk udders. Milk yield also falls.

FMD is an internationally listed or notifiable disease and it affects the economies of countries depending on cattle and pigs.

Countries affected by FMD, therefore, suffer from trade embargoes limiting exports of even non-livestock products.