Brenda Ziga Herald Reporter
Small-scale farmers have been urged to brand their cattle for easy identification in case they get lost or stolen.
The call was made by the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union livestock executive Mr Willis Mhlanga at the National Foot and Mouth (FMD) Control Strategy workshop in Harare yesterday.
Mr Mhlanga said most small-scale farmers had their cattle auctioned by police after failing to positively identify them.
He said the animals could easily be identified if they were branded.
“Most small-scale farmers do not have individual cattle brands and this makes it difficult for police to identify their lost cattle which results in the auctioning of these cattle.
“If the police fail to identify the owners of the lost cattle, they sell them to farmers in other areas. The absence of branding results in free movement of cattle and this may result in the spread of diseases from one area to another,” he said.
Mr Mhlanga said the small-scale farmers had little knowledge about the spread of the FMD.
“Small-scale farmers lack knowledge about the spread of FMD and are not aware that free movement of cattle may result in the spread of diseases,” he said.
Speaking at the same function, livestock consultant Dr Gavin Thomson said the movement of livestock should be strictly monitored.
“Zimbabwe has a poor animal movement control. The movement of livestock must be controlled and interaction between wildlife and livestock should also be monitored to avoid the spread of FMD from wildlife animals to livestock,” he said.
Dr Thomson said the current situation in the country was disastrous to livestock producers and endangered neighbouring countries.
FMD is an internationally notifiable disease and it has affected seven African countries including Zimbabwe.