The Zimbabwean government has banned the movement of all cloven-hoofed animals between Mashonaland West province and the capital Harare following a fresh outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD).
The Department of Livestock and Veterinary Services (DLVS) culled and incinerated an infected herd of 17 stud animals including Simmentaler, Brahman and Boran cattle at a farm near Chegutu.
DLVS director Dr. Josphat Nyika said cattle movement from the affected areas in to abattoirs in Harare will resume after the department controls the outbreak and identifies the source of the disease.
The ban has hit Harare’s private abattoirs hard and raised prospects of an increase in the price of beef and beef products. Leading abattoir CC Cattle Sales has notified its customers of the cancellations of several scheduled cattle sales to give government time to deal with the outbreak.
At least 4 districts of Mashonaland West are believed to have been affected by the latest outbreak, which was detected in mid-January but only positively confirmed last week. Apart from the new outbreak, Zimbabwe is still battling to control a resurgent FMD crisis in Masvingo Province.
Since 2015, FMD outbreaks have occurred frequently in the Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Masvingo provinces. The veterinary services have battled to control the disease – a situation blamed on a crippling shortage of funds to buy essential vaccines.