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Farmers urged to be vigilant in fighting tick-borne diseases

Farmers urged to be vigilant in fighting tick-borne diseases

Story by Peter Chivhima

LIVESTOCK farmers have been implored to remain vigilant in the fight against tick-borne diseases, particularly during this time of the year when ticks are at their peak breeding period.

The government has set a target of increasing the national herd from the current figure of 5.6 million to 11 million by 2030, hence rolling out several initiatives aimed at consolidating current strides.

This Tuesday, the ZBC News crew toured farms in and around the Mazowe area of Mashonaland Central Province, where farmers expressed gratitude to the government for the Presidential Tick Grease Blitz Programme, which is proving to be a game changer is saving their animals from the ravaging theileriosis popularly known as January disease as well as related tick-borne diseases.

One of the farmers said, “We want to thank our President, Dr Emmerson Mnangagwa for launching the Presidential Blitz Tick Grease Programme. Since the launch, my cattle started to increase. I am benefiting a lot because now I can send my children to school as compared to the period when I was losing my cattle due to tick-borne diseases.

“I am so grateful to the programme which is being implemented by the Veterinary Services of encouraging us farmers to dip our animals.”

Director of Veterinary Field Services, Dr Jairus Machakwa implored cattle farmers to regularly dip their animals to protect the national herd.

“We are happy with the vision of our President who launched the Presidential Blitz Tick Grease Programme in 2019 after noticing that most farmers were losing their cattle to the January disease.

“Under this programme, farmers were assisted with the tick grease. So, we noticed that from that time, the number of cattle dying from the January disease and tick-borne related diseases started to decline. We are encouraging our farmers to regularly inspect their animals for ticks. If they notice any signs they must quickly report to our Veterinary officers who are on the ground, but most importantly, we are encouraging farmers to regularly dip their cattle so that we protect them from January disease.”

The Presidential Tick Grease Scheme was launched in 2020 under the Livestock Recovery and Growth Plan and to date, more than one million households have since benefitted.

Besides the tick grease programme, the government is also targeting to construct more than 5 000 across the country, with several such facilities having been rehabilitated last year.

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