via Govt battles to contain foot-and-mouth disease | The Herald October 30, 2015
Government is battling to contain the foot and mouth disease which continues to spread to more parts of the country due to unavailability of financial resources, legislators heard yesterday.
Acting principal director responsible for livestock in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Mr William Shereni said about 410 00 cattle had been vaccinated and 1,25 million remained outstanding.
He was giving oral evidence before a Thematic Committee on Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment chaired by Harare Senator Charles Tawengwa.
“The spread of the disease has been caused by illegal movement of cattle,” said Mr Shereni. “People are moving cattle at night. The disease has been recorded in Midlands, Masvingo, Manicaland, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South and now it has moved to Mashonaland West in Mhondoro-Ngezi areas.”
Mr Shereni said Botswana was the only country where they could secure the drug, but financial challenges remained a handicap. “It costs $2 per dose and we have more than one million cattle,” he said. “What we are focusing on at the moment is to stop the disease from spreading and there are a lot of areas in Mhondoro-Ngezi that we need to vaccinate. The control measure is to vaccinate all areas and animals.”
Sen Tawengwa asked why it was not possible for veterinary officials to vaccinate cattle for those farmers who would have bought their own vaccine.
He said there was need for Government to be proactive to prevent the disease, considering the repercussions to the country, one of which is the country’s inability to export beef to the European Union.
Mr Shereni said what was ideal was to vaccinate all the animals.
“If an individual farmer can treat own cattle and the neighbour does not, we end up having sporadic occurrences of the disease,” he said. “All the animals have to be vaccinated.”
Mashonaland East Senator Rosemary Goto (zanu-pf) asked why extension workers were not found in A2 farming areas.
Speaking before the same committee, acting secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Mr Joseph Gondo, said fewer extension workers went to A2 farmers mainly because of challenges related to mobility and accommodation.