Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Correspondent
Government has come up with a new policy that compels A1 and A2 farmers, as well as other beneficiaries of the land reform programme to fence off their properties to curb the wanton spread of livestock diseases.
There were recent reported cases of foot and mouth disease in the Midlands province and other areas. Government says the disease is now under control.
In an interview last week, Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Davis Marapira said while the foot and mouth disease was now under control, Government wanted to make it mandatory for farmers to fence off their properties to restrict animal movement. He said the interaction of livestock and wild animals was the major driver of foot and mouth, hence the need to protect properties and restrict animal movement. Government, he said, had a responsibility to fence off major highways and game reserves to avoid animals spreading the disease.
“We have realised that the cases of foot and mouth disease that have been reported in some parts of the country are as a result of the continued interaction between domesticated animals and wild animals,” he said.
“We now have a new policy which makes it mandatory for A1 and A2 farmers to protect their properties. This will help curb the spread of this (foot and mouth) and many other contagious animal diseases.”
Deputy Minister Marapira said another major setback in livestock production was litter thrown along the country’s roads, particularly along major highways in cattle farming regions such as Matabeleland and Masvingo provinces. He said these were increasing animal mortality, as they caused abdominal disorders after consumption of plastic materials.
“We have been going around the country and we have noted that cattle have been dying from consuming plastics that are thrown away by motorists,” said Deputy Minister Marapira.
“This littering is inhibiting the growth of the national herd. Plastics are non-biodegradable, hence cannot be digested. We want to urge motorists to desist from throwing litter along the highways and major roads.”