Zambia fears Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak

Zambia restricts livestock Movement amid Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak. Photo : Business Times Africa Magazine.

Johannesburg, South Africa (ADV) – Zambian government has restricted the movement of livestock in the country’s Eastern Province following the recent outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Zambia Reports reported.

FMD is a severe, contagious viral disease that affects livestock such as cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and other cloven-hoofed animals. It mostly causes weight loss, which devastates the profitability of farming the animals.

The Province’s Permanent Secretary, Dr Buleti Nsemukila said the Lundazi area has recorded 600 cases, while the Vubwi area recorded 412 cases.

“The government, through the Department of Livestock, had since restricted the movement of livestock in the Province to prevent the spread of the disease,” said Dr Nsemukila, adding that he has directed law enforcement officer to impound vehicles found transporting livestock without permits.

He further advised farmers to seek advice from the Veterinary Department before buying animals.

The Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) recently expressed shock, saying it suspects that there may be negligent in handling of animals, and that biosecurity measures have been ignored by some farmers when moving animals as stipulated by the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock’s Veterinary Department, resulting to the importation of FMD.

“We need not emphasise the risk that these perpetrators are putting our country’s animal population at, and more, the image that this portrays to countries that have been courting Zambia to export animals to, and the losses in monetary terms that come with the FMD”, said ZNFU President, Jarvis Zimba.

He warned that the union will not allow negligence to bring down progress of farmers which have been achieved over the years to grow the livestock sector in the country.

“As farmers we all have to be responsible for every action that we take. And as ZNFU, we shall pursue this matter to its conclusion, together with the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock and other Government authorities,” he emphasised.

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