Desperate villagers sell cattle for US$50 as disease bites

SOME desperate villagers in Chiweshe are selling cattle for as low as US$50 as a result of the outbreak of Theileriosis, or January Disease, a tick-borne infection that has claimed hundreds of cattle around the country since the start of the year.

A visit to the area on Tuesday last week revealed that cattle in the area are still dying, despite efforts by authorities to combat the disease that has hit several parts of the country.

In an interview, Mrs Madren Dombo of Makope village said she has lost six beasts so far as a result of the disease.

“Our situation is now desperate. I lost six cattle to the disease. I have no choice now but to sell off the last one because yesterday, I noticed that it has started to develop the same disease that has killed the other cattle. I have no other option except to sell it for US$50.”

Another villager Mrs Daisy Mashoko aired the some views.

“Our appeal is for intervention from authorites that can assist. Our cattle are our source of wealth. Without the cattle, we are nothing because this is what we rely on to send our children to school,” she said.

Mashonaland Central director for Veterinary Services Dr Dennis Hove said he would look into the matter.

“We have tried our best to address the situation and reach all parts of the province that have been affected. Maybe the area in question could be an isolated incident. We have been distributing dipping material.”

In a recent presentation to Parliament, Secretary for Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Dr John Basera said this year had recorded lower cattle deaths in comparison to last year, after Government disbursed livestock treatment chemicals.

“Livestock condition is fair to good across all provinces, with adequate pastures and water. A total of 445 000kg out of the expected 1 million kg of tick grease has been distributed to households in 25 affected districts covering 1028 of 4000 dip tanks.

“All areas affected by January disease have been covered. Resultantly there has been a 47 percent reduction in cattle deaths this January compared to the previous year,” he said.

Source – Sunday Mail

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