The Zimbabwe Treasury has allocated a budget of $67.6m for the procurement of dip chemicals, vaccines and animal pest and disease surveillance to curb livestock deaths. The funds were disbursed to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement’s Department of Veterinary Services (DVS).
This is following the death of over 80 000 cattle that succumbed to tick-borne diseases countrywide. DVS director, Dr. Josphat Nyika said through the disbursed funds the department will be able to settle payments to dip chemical suppliers and the Botswana Vaccine Institute. They will also receive an additional 500 000 doses of foot and mouth disease vaccine.
Of the US $67.6m, US $28m will go towards the procurement of dip chemicals and US$30m channeled to vaccines for foot and mouth disease, rabies, anthrax, and Newcastle. Dr. Nyika adds that the balance will be used to support programs for dipping, vaccinations, surveillance, animal pest, and disease surveillance, and disease control and animal health extension.
According to the Director, the department needed to stock dip chemicals for the next rainy season. In the meantime, however, he urged farmers to provide supplementary feeding to their livestock because, in winter, grass would have lost nutritional value. They can feed either with commercial stock feeds, hay bales or crop stover. Dr. Nyika also advised farmers to de-worm their livestock and vaccinate against anthrax, botulism, quarter evil, which normally occur this time of the year. Farmers are also urged to vaccinate against a lumpy skin disease that occurs during the rainy season. He said the condition of livestock in most areas was fair although it could deteriorate between October and November.
According to local media reports and analysis, diseases have remained the major cause of livestock deaths countrywide with 69 percent of cattle deaths in 2018 attributed to diseases.