Government has announced strategic measures aimed at eradicating the Contagious Bovine Pleural Pneumonia (CBPP) in Western province.
Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, Makozo Chikote says the proposed control and eradication strategy involves test and slaughter, compensation as well as restocking, among others.
Mr Chikote made the announcement in Kalabo district yesterday during a consultative meeting with smallholder cattle farmers.
He said that the high prevalence of CBPP in Western province is a risk to the whole country.
“The test and slaughter of infected cattle herds will be followed by construction of a cordon line, animal identification and traceability, artificial insemination as well as restocking measures. It is high time we restored the glory of Western province in terms of livestock numbers and a source of informal employment,” Mr Chikote said.
The cattle farmers in Kalabo district have welcomed the proposed control and eradication strategy describing the measures as long overdue.
Mr Chikote said government is committed to improving the breeds of cattle across the country because the livestock sector has potential to contribute to Zambia’s gross domestic product.
“His Excellency the President, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema has sent me to visit Western Province and conduct consultative meetings on the proposed control and eradication strategy against CBPP which government wants to implement,” he said.
The minister disclosed that the three-year implementation measures will commence in June this year, and deploy 250 cordon guards in order to curb transmission and spread of the disease from across the border into Western Province.
“A feasibility study will soon commence. Government will reintroduce the cordon line to act as a buffer zone. All cattle herds in the province will be tested. Livestock will have brand marks for identification and traceability in order to protect the animals against theft and disease.
“Infected herds will be slaughtered at commercial market value. All the affected farmers will be awarded a relief of 20 percent of the slaughtered cattle as compensation through restocking of improved breeds. Artificial insemination centres will be set up in each district and serviced by a plant set up in Mazabuka,” he explained.
Mr Chikote bemoaned that Western Province would have had 3.5 million cattle by now but CBPP has reduced stock levels in the region from 675,000 to 480,000 hence the need to implement the control and eradication strategy against the highly contagious disease.
“CBPP has affected the entire Western province except for Sesheke, Mwandi and Mulobezi districts which are disease free. Kalabo district is one of the entry points for the disease whose source is the neighbouring Angola,” he said.
Mr Chikote said eradication of the non-curable disease will revamp the livestock sector and in the long term permanently lift movement restrictions experienced in Western province.
“The new dawn administration has enhanced extension services by employing 470 camp extension officers while another 300 will soon be employed. Government has also procured 80 motor vehicles and 932 motor bikes in order to facilitate transport for outreach activities in every district across the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kalabo Central Member of Parliament, Chinga Miyutu thanked the smallholder cattle farmers for unanimously endorsing the proposed CBPP eradication strategy.
Mr Miyutu disclosed that his constituents were highly delighted because they have for a long time been devastated by the disease due to loss of animals and reduced income.
And Kalabo Council Chairperson, David Nyundu urged the livestock farmers to be agents of change and sensitize others about the unfolding control and eradication strategy.
Earlier, Kalabo District Commissioner, Musangu Njamba bemoaned that CBPP has depleted cattle stocks in the area and exposed smallholder farmers to social-economic hardships.
Mr Njamba said this when the Fisheries and Livestock Minister paid a courtesy call on him.