Communal cattle farmers in Kwekwe District have bemoaned the shortage of cattle dipping chemicals, a situation that has resulted in their herd succumbing to diseases.
Government has over the years subsidised prices of dipping chemicals especially in rural areas where communal farmers have been dipping their cattle on a weekly basis through the Veterinary Services Department.
Farmers who spoke to The Herald in Kwekwe District said the department has not been availing dipping chemicals for the past five months with the majority of them failing to buy chemicals to vaccine cattle on their own.
“This has adversely affected our herd. At the moment the Veterinary Service Department has quarantined the district due to the increase of diseases such as red water and anthrax in Kwekwe. There are no chemicals and our cattle have gone for months without dipping,” said Mr Reuben Maru.
Mr Maru said veterinary shops were demanding forex for chemicals.
“We were used to getting these services for free but it seems the department has no chemicals. We can’t afford to buy on our own because they demand forex at vet shops,” he said.
Another farmer, Mr Lenox Ncube of Zhombe, said dip tanks in the area have not been offering dipping services for the past six months.
“This has culminated in recurring of diseases such as red water, heart water, January and gull sickness that are affecting most livestock in the district.
“We are losing cattle due to disease outbreak,” he said.
Kwekwe District vet officer, Dr Tapiwanashe Mukorovi confirmed the shortages of dipping chemicals.
He, however, urged farmers to buy chemicals on their own and always make sure their herd is vaccinated.
“As a country we have lost a significant number of cattle due to diseases caused by cattle not having access to dipping services due to non-availability of dipping chemicals and other key drugs. Kwekwe District itself has lost quite a substantial number of cattle,” he said.
Dr Mukorovi said the most affected areas are in Kwekwe were Silobela, Zhombe, Grasslands and Ripple Creek