The Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries has vaccinated more than 100 000 head of cattle in Itezhi-tezhi district, in Central Province, against foot and mouth disease. It forms part of a nationwide routine programme.
Itezhi-tezhi is reputed to have an animal population that outnumbers people. A 2010 census put the animal population at 145 000 and the human population at 70 000.
Shepard Phiri, livestock and fisheries coordinator, said 115 000 doses of vaccine is being used in the vaccination exercise that started in January. “A total of 102 510 animals has been vaccinated despite the challenge of floods,” Phiri said.
According to Phiri, foot and mouth disease, a highly communicable viral disease, was rife in Itezhi-tezhi due to contact with wildlife in the Kafue National Park.
In its 2017 budget, Zambia named agriculture as a pivotal driver for diversified growth. This included realising livestock potential to contribute to the national treasury.
However, lack of institutional capacity and infrastructure were among challenges that needed to be overcome before the livestock sector became commercially viable for the country’s more than 250 000 small-scale farmers.
The World Bank recently released US$30 million to support small-scale farmers, especially in mitigating diseases.