Government says it has approved 775 Million Kwacha to control the outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the country.
Fisheries and Livestock Minister MAKOZO CHIKOTE says the money will be spent to purchase and administer FMD vaccines on all cattle.
Mr. CHIKOTE says the government has come up with a three year FMD plan that will ensure the disease is brought under control.
‘The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock has worked out a three-year vaccination rigorous programme that will see government spent K775, 000, 000 to purchase and administer vaccines, conduct surveillance and implement bio-security measures’ Chikote said.
He disclosed that SEVEN out of the TEN provinces in the country have been affected by FMD and the new dawn government has committed the funds to protect the national herd.
The Minister said this in Livingstone during a foot and mouth disease consultative meeting with 23 traditional leaders drawn from all the districts in Southern Province.
Mr. Chikote says if no measures are urgently undertaken to address the situation, the disease will cover all the provinces and affect all the herds in the country.
‘In this province (Southern) all districts are currently affected with foot and mouth disease except Siavonga while most of the provinces in the country are affected country except Northern, Muchinga and Luapula provinces’ Chikote noted.
He described the outbreak of FMD as a situation that could not only be a disaster for the livestock sector in the country but a national calamity that will condemn the majority of our people to poverty and destitution.
Mr. CHIKOTE says for the FMD vaccination programme to be successful the participation of the traditional leaders is critical.
He called upon the chiefs to take the lead in the implementation of Livestock disease control programmes as they are the custodians of livestock and the people.
‘Your royal highnesses, this is the reason we thought of meeting you as we develop the implementation schedule so that we take on board not only your concerns and counsel but also your participation in ensuring that the subjects are part of the disease prevention and control measures’ Chikote appealed.
Mr. Chikote says the vaccination programmes should be viewed as their own programmes and not government programmes because the traditional leaders are the foundation of development in the community.
He noted that livestock is wealth and any loss of livestock that occurs is a big loss to the farmers, the community that mainly depend on livestock and the nation.
‘It is therefore imperative that together with all the stakeholders we put in place measures that will curtail losses through diseases, theft and other calamities’.
And speaking on behalf of the royal highnesses, Southern Province Council of Chiefs Chairperson KING SHIMUMBO NALUBAMBA has commended the government for the consultative process.
Professor NALUBAMBA says a lot of livelihoods in the province have been affected by FMD and is hopeful that the measures put in place will bring sanity in the livestock sector.
He says Southern Province forms the bulk of Livestock in the country and appealed to the government to facilitate market access in Saudi Arabia.