MASVINGO – A new wave of theileriosis also known as January disease is killing hundreds of cattle in Masvingo Province, leaving many farmers with nothing, a survey by The Mirror has shown.
Provincial Veterinary services officer, Dr Ernest Dzimwasha confirmed the pandemic. He said the 552 cattle that have been reported dead since January 1, 2021 are an understatement of the situation on the ground.
A lot of deaths are not reported while thousands of cattle are sold to beef companies when they show signs of ill health.
Dr Dzimwasha however, said that the Government was intervening in a big way by availing 146 tonnes of tick grease and 96,6 tonnes of have already been released to farmers.
Gutu North MP John Paradza whose constituency is one of the hardest hit said he is carrying out awareness campaigns on the importance of dipping and is also urging people to collect tick grease for their livestock.
The new wave of the pandemic follows another devastating one last year which left the Province’s total herd drastically reduced. Many farmers no longer have draught power after losing all their cattle and this has had an immense negative impact on this year’s crop production.
The tick grease is collected at Arex, GMB depots and other designated points for communities that have transport problems.
The development comes at a time Government procured 178 000 doses of foot and mouth disease worth US$445 000.
“Gutu is the epicentre of the disease. Zaka, Bikita, Masvingo and Chivi are also affected with Chiredzi and Mwenezi recording fewer deaths. Most cases are unrecorded due to Covid-19 and we believe more cattle have succumbed to tick-borne related deaths.
“We have received a total of 96 664kgs of tick grease to date which are being distributed under the Presidential Input Scheme. We are expecting a total of 145 993kg which tallies with the number of livestock owners in Masvingo with each farmer receiving a kg.
“Zaka and Mwenezi are yet to receive the tick grease,” said Dr Dzimwasha.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) president Paul Zachariah said …
“I have lost 25 cattle to tick borne related complications. Government must ensure that there is no politicisation of the inputs as this will affect the programme to save the province’s herd,” said Arnold Mutero a farmer in Gutu.