Farmer to lose $50k worth of cat­tle

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Wal­ter Mswazie Masvingo Cor­re­spon­dent

A MASVINGO farmer is set to lose a herd of 80 cat­tle val­ued at about $50 000, which will be de­stroyed by the Gov­ern­ment af­ter he al­legedly il­le­gally moved 20 beasts from foot and mouth dis­ease (FMD) hit Mwenezi dis­trict to his farm.

The 20 heifers are sus­pected to have in­fected 60 head of cat­tle at the farm.

Mr Onesmo Mukumba al­legedly bought 20 heifers from Nuanetsi Ranch in Mwenezi and moved them to his Wind­crest Farm in Masvingo East, about 20km from Masvingo City.

Agri­cul­ture Mech­a­ni­sa­tion and Ir­ri­ga­tion Devel­op­ment deputy Min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for live­stock Paddy Zhanda con­firmed the devel­op­ment and clar­i­fied the Gov­ern­ment’s po­si­tion on farm­ers who il­le­gally move an­i­mals from FMD-hit ar­eas.

He said what the farmer in ques­tion did was il­le­gal and de­stroy­ing his cat­tle is the only way out as the Gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to re­strict­ing the spread of FMD.

Deputy Min­is­ter Zhanda said all farm­ers should abide by the law ad­ding that Mr Mukumba acted in a self­ish man­ner.

“It’s true that the Depart­ment of Ve­teri­nary Ser­vices in Masvingo will de­stroy some cat­tle which were taken from an FMD red zone in Mwenezi Dis­trict to Masvingo Dis­trict which is a green zone. We want to re­strict the spread of FMD in the coun­try but our ef­forts are scut­tled by such peo­ple who il­le­gally move cat­tle,” said Deputy Min­is­ter Zhanda.

He said the Gov­ern­ment was sim­ply im­ple­ment­ing the law and not demon­strat­ing “cru­elty”.

“The farmer in ques­tion is a self­ish in­di­vid­ual who wants to cost the Gov­ern­ment huge sums of money in the pro­cure­ment of vac­cines. We’re not be­ing cruel but sim­ply ap­ply­ing the law,” Deputy Min­is­ter Zhanda said.

He said the coun­try is al­ready los­ing a lot of po­ten­tial rev­enue in beef ex­ports to the EU and other for­eign coun­tries be­cause of FMD, hence the full ap­pli­ca­tion of the law to of­fend­ers was jus­ti­fied.

The es­ti­mated eco­nomic loss suf­fered by the Gov­ern­ment as a re­sult of FMD, said Deputy Min­is­ter Zhanda, is in the re­gion of $1.8 bil­lion per year if the dis­ease is not con­trolled.

He said the farmer was ex­pected to seek per­mis­sion from the Depart­ment of Ve­teri­nary ser­vices in the dis­trict to move his cat­tle but he ig­nored the Gov­ern­ment di­rec­tive.

The Gov­ern­ment has not yet re­laxed the ban on move­ment of cat­tle in all FMD-hit dis­tricts in the coun­try with those who want to move their cat­tle re­quired to con­sult the Depart­ment of Ve­teri­nary ser­vices first.

Con­tacted for com­ment at his farm yes­ter­day, Mr Mukumba said he was seek­ing le­gal re­course over the mat­ter and main­tained that what he did was above board.

“We didn’t break any law. I’ve a sis­ter called (Ms) Sandy Mukumba who asked me to look for 20 white heifers all val­ued at $20 000,” said Mr Mukumba.

He said he got the heifers from Nuanetsi Ranch in Mwenezi.

“The an­i­mals were med­i­cally ex­am­ined by the Depart­ment of Ve­teri­nary ser­vices. I was then is­sued with a per­mit to move the cat­tle from Mwenezi to my farm in Masvingo,” said Mr Mukumba.

He said when the an­i­mals were at his farm some­time in July, one of them fell ill and the whole flock was treated us­ing vac­cines bought from the Depart­ment of Ve­teri­nary ser­vices.

“Trou­ble started when one of the heifers fell sick. This is when these sto­ries came up ac­cus­ing me of hav­ing il­le­gally moved FMDhit cat­tle from Mwenezi dis­trict to Masvingo which is a green zone,” said Mr Mukumba.

“I’m seek­ing le­gal re­course over the mat­ter be­cause my sis­ter’s heifers can­not be de­stroyed. They were treated and I’ve not mixed them with the other 60 cat­tle which were al­ready on the farm.”

Masvingo Beef Farm­ers As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Mr Robert Makado ap­pealed to the Gov­ern­ment to be “hu­mane” and spare the farmer.

“While we un­der­stand that the farmer com­mit­ted a se­ri­ous crime, we ap­peal to the pow­ers that be to have a hu­man heart and stop de­stroy­ing the cat­tle. The heifers were treated at a cost of $5 a dose per an­i­mal and we feel this should be con­sid­ered,” said Mr Makado.

FMD is a highly in­fec­tious dis­ease that af­fects cloven-hoofed an­i­mals like cat­tle, sheep, pigs, goats and deer.

The dis­ease is not con­sid­ered zoonotic, mean­ing in­fected an­i­mals can­not trans­mit it to hu­man be­ings.

FMD is a painful and de­bil­i­tat­ing in­fec­tion that causes fever as well as blis­ters pri­mar­ily on the feet and mouth of in­fected an­i­mals within one to 10 days of ex­po­sure to the virus.

In Zim­babwe, FMD is preva­lent in Masvingo, Mata­bele­land North and South prov­inces. — @wal­terbm­swazie2

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.