Govt eyes producing 25m Newcastle vaccines

Ashton Mutyavaviri

EFFORTS to protect the poultry sector from disease outbreaks are gaining traction, with Government targeting to produce 25 million Newcastle vaccines this year.

This marks a 38 percent increase from the 18 million produced last year, which demonstrates Government’s commitment to safeguard and transform the entire agriculture industry, as the country moves to achieve an upper-middle income economy by 2030.

Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) acting director, Dr Chenai Majuru, told this publication that from January this year to date, the department had managed to produce 10 million doses.

She said the department was producing the vaccines to save the poultry especially in communal areas.

“There are plans to vaccinate chickens countrywide, as part of the Government’s drive to build a multi-million-dollar poultry industry that is expected to boost rural incomes and nutrition, in line with Vision 2030,” she said.

Vaccination programmes have since been scheduled for all provinces across the country with beneficiaries expected to come and collect their allocations.

Provincial veterinary services extension workers will roll-out vaccination programmes in their respective provinces twice per year, she explained.

Dr Majuru further highlighted that the vaccination programmes had already started in different parts of the country.

The Government wants to make Zimbabwe one of the biggest exporters of eggs, organic chicken and chicken meat over the next five years.

She emphasised that all rural chickens would be vaccinated as part of the drive to grow the rural poultry industry.

Government is committed to the production of livestock for domestic and export markets while ensuring food and nutrition security.

Newcastle is a disease that is characterised by nervous symptoms and pneumonia in poultry. It can wipe out entire flocks in a very short time and chickens need to be vaccinated against it.

The Government introduced the Presidential Poultry Scheme as one of the eight facets under the Rural Development 8.0 model.

It targets to boost nutrition and incomes for at least three million rural households drawn from across the country.

The Presidential Poultry Scheme launched on August 25 last year in Masvingo has since spread its wings to all the country’s 10 provinces in line with the Government’s mantra of ‘leaving no one and no place behind.’

It is expected that the scheme will make rural communities hubs for organically-produced live chickens, eggs and chicken meat in the next two to three years.

The country is also expected to generate foreign currency from exports of the chickens and associated products.

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