Oliver Kazunga, Acting Business Editor
THE Livestock Farmers’ Union (LFU) has urged farmers to buy their own dipping chemicals to control tick-borne diseases that are prevalent during the rainy season instead of just waiting for Government to provide the chemicals.
In a recent interview, LFU chairman Mr Sifiso Sibanda said they have received reports of animals dying in some parts of Matabeleland region as a result of tick-borne diseases.
“Communal farmers who normally get their dipping chemicals from Government have not received supplies for a long time now resulting in an outbreak of tick-borne diseases which is killing cattle,” he said.
Mr Sibanda said the union was therefore calling on farmers to use their own resources to buy chemicals instead of waiting for Government to provide the chemicals.
He said although they were yet to get exact figures of cattle that had died as a result of tick-borne diseases, they had received reports of deaths of livestock in areas such as Nkayi, Umguza, and Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North.
During the rainy season, cattle are supposed to be dipped once every week to control tick-borne diseases.
The tick-borne diseases that affect cattle include heartwater, borne fever, tick pyaemia as well as babesiosis and theileria in sheep.
Mr Sibanda said livestock farmers in Matabeleland region should take advantage of their proximity to Botswana and South Africa to buy dipping chemicals from the neighbouring countries.
“As a union we are encouraging the farmers to buy their own dipping chemicals rather than depending on communal dip-tanks.
“The farmers can buy their own dipping chemicals and get a knapsack spray and spray their animals,” he said.
Mr Sibanda said it was time farmers weaned themselves from Government which has many competing priorities.
“Livestock farmers should be able to buy their own requirements just like what commercial farmers are doing because livestock farming is a very lucrative business,” he said.
Early last year, the Government launched a $300 million facility for the Special Livestock farming meant to boost the national herd.