By Ndafadza Madanha
THE country has been hit by a shortage of livestock vaccines especially for cattle dipping as the ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Rural Resettlement, Climate and Water is battling to pay its supplier domiciled in Botswana.
Sources in the ministry of Agriculture said they had exhausted their credit line with the supplier and are now waiting for the central bank to provide them with the necessary foreign currency allocation to extinguish the debt.
So dire is the situation in many parts of the country that cattle have not dipped in many weeks resulting in a surge of diseases.
The source added that the issue of livestock diseases was aggravated by the illegal movement of animals within and outside the country’s borders.
Recently Rushinga district recorded its first ever case of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) owing to the uncontrolled movement of cattle between Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
“We have an outstanding debt with the Botswana which manufactures vaccines for livestock. The Botswana Vaccines Institute is the only manufacturer of vaccines in Southern Africa and we have exhausted our credit line with them and have approached the RBZ for foreign currency and waiting for our allocation to settle the debt.
Also we should note the illegal movement of cattle in Zimbabwe is compounding issues. For instance Rushinga recorded an outbreak of foot and mouth owing to the movement of cattle between Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Another issue that is poising problems for us is the mixing of livestock and wildlife especially Buffalo which are carriers of the FMD,” said the source.
Responding to a question in the House of Assembly Deputy minister of Agriculture Douglas Karoro said it was government priority that animal health production and productivity is enhanced.
He said that government was working towards ensuring the department of veterinary services is well capacitated to ensure that it carries out its mandate.