More than 30 heads of cattle have died in Zambia’s Central Province from an unknown disease, sparking panic among livestock farmers in the area.
Local media reports that several of the affected farmers are blaming the veterinary department for being unresponsive. They claim the disease has ravaged the area in the last couple of months.
However, Central Province Fisheries and Livestock Coordinator Alisheke Mutemwa blamed farmers.
“The farmers have not been reporting the deaths to our camp officers to visit the affected areas,” he said.
Farmer Moses Kasokomona said he lost 17 animals within a month. He said he reported the deaths, but nothing was done.
Another affected farmer, Paulson Munamooya, lost 16 animals.
Local cooperative chairperson Raphael Milambo said the deaths of the animals highlighted the need for an effective and cost-efficient cattle disease management programme for smallholder farmers.
“It is clear that there is a huge gap for veterinary services for smallholder farmers,” Milambo said.
Government views the development of the livestock sector as very important, as it accounts for nearly 35% of agriculture’s share of the national gross domestic product (GDP).
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