Farmers urged to protect their livestock during the rainy season

30 Nov, 2021 - 12:11 0 Views
Farmers urged to protect their livestock during the rainy season

The Sunday News

Judith Phiri, Business Reporter

Zimbabwe’s livestock farmers have to take necessary steps to avoid losing a lot of their animals by utilizing the Presidential Livestock Inputs scheme to acquire drugs and chemicals for various diseases that are brought about by the rainy season, an official has said.

Livestock has become an important part of the country’s agricultural sector.

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Department of Veterinary Services chief director, Dr Josphat Nyika said with the rainy season here, farmers should utilize the Presidential Livestock Inputs scheme to manage livestock diseases.

“Under the Livestock Growth Plan there is the Presidential Livestock Inputs scheme where Government is providing chemicals or drugs for every single small-scale farmer. With the onset of the rainy season as farmers collect their inputs for Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme they should also get inputs for livestock such as the deworming chemicals or drugs, tick grease and pasture feeds to plant among others,” said Dr Nyika.

He said that under the deworming programme they were looking at over five million cattle to be dewormed.

Dr Nyika said with the rainy season came with many challenges such as tick-borne diseases, hence Government was providing tick grease to every household that own cattle.

He added: “There are a lot of livestock diseases that come with the rain. Among them are lumpy skin, which is caused by insect bites, we advise farmers to vaccinate cattle against the disease. With the tick-borne disease, farmers should dip their cattle weekly and in areas with January disease they should be dipping three times in two weeks.”

Dr Nyika said that to avoid foot rot for kraaled cattle, farmers had to make sure that they have two or three kraals so that as one gets filled with the mud, they take then move their livestock to the next.

He encouraged farmers to play it by the ear, keep updated to weather station reports or news, make sure that they do not miss out on floods alerts and adhere to whatever advice coming from the Meteorological Services Department.

“With new technologies these days there are platform such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter where farmers can easily access information communicated and be in a better position to communicate with their Agritex officers. They now have better equipment to predict the rains and to do the rain forecasts, so I think farmers should just play it by the ear so that they do not lose their animals,” added Dr Nyika.

In terms of small stock such as goats, chicken and sheep among others he said that farmers should make sure that they are always protected against the rain by being put into proper housing shelter.

As another precaution, Dr Nyika advised farmers to be on the alert and aware of lightning deaths as normally animals aggregate under trees when it rain.

We have lost a lot of cattle because of lightning deaths. Not only animals but also human lives as well, this should be avoided. The rearing of livestock requires good care and protection of the animals from rough or unpleasant weather,” he added.

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