Poultry farmers warned against feeding chickens ARVs

24 Nov, 2022 - 00:11 0 Views
Poultry farmers warned against feeding chickens ARVs The veterinary extension supervisor for Odzi, Inspectorate Ms Cathrine Sakupwanya, told The Herald that although they were educating farmers, some were still using ARVs and steroids to boost production. 

The Herald

Yeukai Karengezeka recently in Mutare

EXPERTS have warned poultry farmers to desist from using antiretroviral drugs(ARVs) and steroids to fast-track the growth of chickens.

Such drug abuse is causing anti-microbial resistance (AMR) which is affecting the health of humans, plants and animals.

This came out during a recent media tour in Manicaland organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and WHO meant to assess the impact of AMR on poultry in Zimbabwe.

AMR occurs when germs that cause disease or infection in humans and animals, change and become resistant to antimicrobial medicines used for treatment.

The veterinary extension supervisor for Odzi, Inspectorate Ms Cathrine Sakupwanya, told The Herald that although they were educating farmers, some were still using ARVs and steroids to boost production. 

“There are farmers who are using ARVs, corticosteroids so that the chickens develop faster with big muscles. Unfortunately unsuspecting buyers prefer the ‘huge chickens’ as compared to those that have been nurtured in the correct way and have standard weight.”

Ms Sakupwanya said although there are hybrid chickens, they are very different from the ones being fed human drugs. She said farmers were inappropriately administering animal medicines to livestock to quickly recover from ailments due to lack of knowledge. Most farmers shun visiting veterinary offices in their respective areas but often prefer to visit agro shops where they are sometimes misled. 

“When their livestock falls sick, most farmers rush to approach agro shops rather than informing vets authorities to get proper diagnosis and prescriptions,” Ms Sakupwanya said. 

“The danger happens when they are told to buy the wrong medication and administer wrong dosages.” For instance, with the Esb3 drug for fowls, one is not supposed to slaughter a fowl for human consumption within seven days of the last treatment.” 

FAO in partnership with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development are training and capacitating poultry farmers with knowledge and offering them chickens to improve their livelihoods in Odzi.

In Manicaland, at least 100 farmers have so far benefited from the initiative.

“I have been keeping chickens for five years but never used to make a profit because I thought that broilers’ lifespan is dependent upon the use of drugs. 

“This affected their growth and I did not know how dangerous it was to feed them with human drugs but after receiving training I am doing the business in a better way,” said Mr Tonderai Bungu (45) from Rusenvrede farm in Odzi.

Mrs Dorothy Mutangabende (64) from Goodhope area said she is now earning a good living out of the poultry business.

“I am a widow who was trained on how to keep chickens well by FAO. I used to sell them very small because of the wrong medication but this is my fifth batch now.

“Now I am able to pay school fees for my children and others under my care. Before it was tough,” she said.

Other farmers who spoke to this publication confessed that they were inappropriately using human drugs on animals before receiving training. The globe is commemorating the annual World Antimicrobial Resistance Week (WAAW) until today.

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