Local authorities urged to budget for January disease USD

Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, [email protected]

LOCAL authorities have been urged to set aside a budget towards the fight against the January disease as the country has declared war against the disease which has claimed over half a million cattle in the past five years.

Government through the Department of Veterinary Services has declared war against January disease and has put in place mechanisms to fight the disease.

Government working with its partner European Union (EU) has capacitated 26 animal health management centres across the country under the Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP) in order to ensure efficient animal health services.

In an interview yesterday, Matabeleland South provincial veterinary director, Dr Enat Mdlongwa said councils should set aside funds towards maintaining dip tanks to ensure that farmers adhere to the recommended dipping regime.

“The fight against the January disease requires collective effort from various stakeholders and we encourage rural district councils to play a part.

Under the devolution funds, councils have to allocate a budget towards dip tank rehabilitation,” he said.

“This will help us to record a 100 percent turnout of animal dipping and break the brown ear tick life cycle which causes the January disease. If local authorities set aside a budget then this will help in buying acaricides, especially in our hot spots.”

The January disease is now spread out throughout the year and is a threat to the economy.

In July, a total of 703 cattle in Matabeleland South succumbed to January disease, which was first reported in Insiza before spreading to other districts in the province.

The Department of Veterinary Services has since quarantined the hotspots and movement of cattle from those areas is restricted.

The Department of Veterinary Services has also intensified awareness campaigns as part of efforts to contain the spread of the disease.

Dr Mdlongwa said while the numbers of cattle that were succumbing to the disease had dropped compared to the beginning of the year, it was worrying as the disease is spreading to other areas.

He encouraged farmers to adhere to the quarantine orders to help to preserve their animals. Dr Mdlongwa also urged farmers to quarantine affected animals and follow suggested treatment regime.

“We also urge traditional leaders to assist in enforcing these regulations. Farmers are urged to report villagers that are not following regulations as they are putting other farmers at the risk of losing their animals. Farmers must also ensure they pen their animals every night,” he said.

Farmers have been urged to dip their animals every week while those in hotspots have to adhere to the 5-5-4 dipping regime system to contain the disease.

Under the dipping system, farmers are supposed to dip their animals after five days, dip them again after five days and then dip them after four days before reverting to five days. Farmers in other areas have been urged to adhere to the recommended 32 dipping sessions per year.

Speaking during a provincial development committee meeting on Monday, Matabeleland South Permanent Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Mrs Latiso Dlamini-Maseko said districts shouldn’t wait for Government to supply them with acaricides.

“As various stakeholders we have an equal task to play towards the fight against the January disease. In our districts, let’s budget towards this cause,” she said.

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