JUST IN: Shiri urges MPs, farmers to be proactive on tickborne diseases

Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri has challenged farmers to source dipping chemicals to reduce cattle deaths due to tick borne diseases.

Farmers have been complaining over the continuous deaths of cattle due to tick-borne diseases, while appealing for Government’s intervention to save the national herd. last year, the country lost more than 50 000 cattle to January disease which is caused by ticks.
Responding to legislators on the cattle deaths in Parliament on Wednesday last week, Minister Shiri said farmers should not wait for Government resources only, but should also mobilise own resources to save their cattle.

“Government is aware that we have a lot of cattle which are dying because of tick borne diseases,” he said. “As Government, we are buying chemicals and taking them to the rural areas so that cattle can get dipping services.

“At times we delay sending these chemicals to the dip tanks in rural areas. I am now informing Members of Parliament to go to their constituencies and encourage these farmers to pull their own resources and buy these chemicals.  It is pointless for a farmer to be proud of seeing a very big herd of cattle then they die because he or she cannot sell just one beast to sustain the remaining ones.

“We are calling on members of the public that as farmers we should be proactive and take measures to invest in our cattle. Take these animals as collateral and buy chemicals so that we serve the draught power.”

Minister Shiri said Government did not have a policy to assist people who lost their cattle to tick-borne diseases.

“We have since introduced command cattle programme where farmers should come and borrow money from the fund,” he said. “The money borrowed will be repaid in five years. I will talk to officials from my ministry to look for intervention measures which could be introduced to assist these farmers who lost their cattle.”
Government has started manufacturing a vaccine against January disease to reduce cattle deaths.