ZITF hit by foot and mouth

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The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF)’s animal and produce section has been hit by the foot and mouth disease, an official has said.

Addressing journalists on Thursday ZITF chairman, Bekithemba Nkomo, said although enthusiasm from farmers was high, the foot and mouth disease has meant that only herds from the Matopos Research Centre and Khami Prison would be on display.

“Preparations for both the animal and produce sections are going on very well and enthusiasm from the farmers is high,” Nkomo said.

“However, unfortunately due to the serious nature of the current foot and mouth disease situation, the Veterinary Department has restricted the exhibition of pedigree cattle.

“Only herds from the Matopos Research Station and Khami Prison have been fully inoculated and can be brought in as static display.”

Nkomo said sheep and goats had also been affected.

“All is not lost however, as the slaughter section is now fully subscribed. There will also be a very good produce section drawn from farmers from all over Matabeleland region,” he said.

Authorities in Zimbabwe two weeks ago banned cattle and beef imports from South Africa after the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the neighbouring country.

Livestock and Veterinary Services director, William Shereni, said the ban was precautionary and was with immediate effect.

South Africa two weeks ago announced an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Kwazulu Natal, prompting the Zimbabwe cattle and meat import ban.

The ZITF exhibition is set for May 3-7 at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo under the theme, “Optimising Business Synergies . . . Now and Beyond.”

The ZITF chairman has announced that 29 direct exhibitors from 14 countries have confirmed participation this year.

“We hope to have a successful fair. We are looking at a bigger and better fair than in previous years in many respects,” Nkomo said.