Lift ban on cattle movement- beef producers tells government
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO- Beef producers have called on government to lift the ban on movement of cattle in the southern part of the country arguingn that the move has crippled their operations amid reports that authorities have conceded failing to eradicate the foot and mouth cattle diseases which have haunted the country for years.
The Zimbabwe government last year through the department of veterinary services indefinitely banned cattle movement except for those meant for slaughter as it steps up efforts to control the
spread of the cattle diseases.
The ban is still in place and there are no signs of it being lifted anytime soon as the foot and mouth cattle diseases continue to kill dozens of cattle monthly.
The chairman of the Zimbabwe Beef Producers Association in southern Zimbabwe Robert Makado said the indefinite ban on cattle movement has negatively affected the beef industry.
“We are at the moment trying our level best to rebuild our herd but the ban has affected us,”said Makado.
“We are appealing to government to reconsider its position and lift the ban given the fact that most of cattle have since been vaccinated,” said Makodo.
“We have families to feed and by selling some of our breeding herd we could improve our industry but the ban is making it difficult for us to do so,”he added.
However veterinary officials in the country have since scoffed at the plea arguing that they can not play with the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans by lifting the ban.
Masvingo Provincial veterinary officer Ernest Dzimwasha said that the ban will only be lifted when the department is satisfied that the diseases have been eradicated.
“We are just protecting the lives of the people and the ban will continue to be in force until such time that we are satisfied that the diseases have been curbed,” said Dzimwasha.
He however conceded that the government has failed to control the cattle diseases because of shortage of manpower and vaccines
“We have failed to eradicate the diseases because we do not have enough manpower as well as vaccines,”said Dzimwasha.
The minister of Agriculture Mechanization and Irrigation Development Dr Joseph Made said the cattle diseases were a cause for concern.
“We are trying our level best to eradicate the diseases but we are having challenges,”said Made.
“We are putting in place measures including the ban on cattle movement as away of trying to contain the diseases,”said Made.
The Zimbabwean government has frozen the recruitment of new staff into the civil service and the move has negatively affected several government departments including the department of veterinary services especially at such times of disease outbreaks.