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Friday, July 19, 2024

Gonarezhou Cordon Fence commissioned

Story by Gay Matambo

THE Government has stepped up efforts to curb the transmission of infectious diseases between wild and domestic animals in communities residing close to the Gonarezhou National Park through the reconstruction of the Game Cordon Fence.

Reconstruction of the 192-kilometre fence began four years ago after the government availed US$3.1 million for the implementation of the project.

The fence, which is situated at the boundary of the national park and the Chiredzi District communal area, is meant to stop any interaction of livestock with wildlife, thereby preventing transmission of livestock diseases, while also reducing human-wildlife conflict.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Dr Anxious Masuka who commissioned the Gonarezhou Game Cordon Project this Thursday revealed that the same efforts will be extended to other national parks and wildlife conservancies to curb the spread of infectious diseases between wild and domestic animals.

“In addition to Game fences, we encourage farmers to fence off their farms. These fences will enable the country to create FMD-free zones from which livestock and livestock products can be sold to lucrative markets including the export markets. Both livestock production and wildlife are major contributors to the national economy and should be jealously guarded as a government priority,” he said.

Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Honourable Ezra Chadzamira noted that the re-establishment of the Gonarezhou Game Cordon fence enhances security in wildlife conservation.

“Livestock had been ravaged by Foot and Mouth Disease resulting in our farmers being excluded from lucrative markets locally and abroad. Our farmers will be able to realise more from each of their animals increasing their disposable incomes which is one of the government’s aspirations as we are working towards the achievement of Vision 2030. The fence will help Zimparks at the Wildlife-Livestock-Human Interface,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister Masuka handed over 176 bicycles to Dip Tank attendants across Chiredzi District as part of government efforts to strengthen the fight against tick-borne diseases, particularly January disease, which has wreaked havoc in Masvingo Province during the past two years.

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