An estimated 28 000 heads of cattle in North Western Province are infected with foot and mouth disease. The disease is said to mostly affect Zambezi District, where local authorities are working frantically to contain it.
“This is a serious concern for us and we want the veterinary department to intervene as quickly as possible,” said Zambezi District Commissioner Lawrence Kayumba. Kayumba said the area did not have adequate disease control mechanisms, triggering fears of the outbreak spreading to the neighbouring districts of Kapombo and Chavuma.
“Despite the positive trend of promoting livestock development in the area, we still face the challenge of managing animal diseases. This has a negative impact on the overall economic development of our area,” he said.
The Zambian livestock sector is worth more than US$1.5bn, accounting for nearly 35% of agriculture’s share of the national gross domestic product (GDP). The sector experienced steady growth of between 7% and 10% annually.
Consequently, government instituted a number of programmes to prevent and control animal diseases to increase growth in the sector. This included the implementation of early warning systems to mitigate the devastating impact of livestock diseases.
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