Lack of dipping decimates small-scale herds

Dilapidated dipping infrastructure coupled with lack of expertise in breed management techniques have impacted heavily on the production of livestock in rural areas.

Small-scale farmers said that their cattle have not been dipping due to lack of facilities, exposing them to various tick-borne diseases.

Mashonaland West Head for Department of Livestock Production and Development, Passmore Gahadzikwa, said small-scale farmers lacked proper breeding management techniques, such as dietary values, castration and dosing control, and this had affected the quality of breeds produced in the communal areas.

He added that there was need for government to invest heavily in training programmes for communal farmers and construction of dips around the country if the dwindling national herd was to be resuscitated to pre-1999 levels.

Meanwhile, some farmers have embarked on a fundraising programme to construct dip tanks at their respective wards. “We will mould bricks and buy cement and dosing chemicals from the funds raised from our own initiatives. We want to save our cattle because they are our source of wealth.

We cannot afford to lose them any more to diseases,” said communal farmer Rosemary Kamanga.

Small scale farmers here have lost a considerable number of their livestock to foot and mouth, which is spread by buffalo from nearby game reserves.

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