BY VENERANDA LANGA
AUDITOR-GENERAL Mildred Chiri has revealed that 70,77% of the country’s cattle dip-tanks are dilapidated and need rehabilitation if livestock diseases are to be effectively curbed.
Chiri revealed this in her report on the Veterinary Department’s state of preparedness in the prevention and control of cattle diseases, which was tabled in Parliament on Thursday last week.
Her report said the most affected was Manicaland province, which had 89,52% of its dip-tanks needing urgent rehabilitation.
“From my review of annual reports for 2015 to 2017, I noted that there were 3 726 dip-tanks in the country, and 2 637 of those (70,77%) needed repairs for them to function properly,” Chiri said.
“Manicaland province was the most affected, with 89,52% of its dip-tanks needing rehabilitation, followed by Matabeleland North, Midlands, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Matabeleland South, Masvingo and Mashonaland Central provinces, respectively,” she said.
Chiri said from her interviews with veterinary officials in Umguza, Bubi and Tsholotsho districts, it was revealed that there were inadequate dip-tanks in their districts, resulting in some farmers driving livestock approximately 40km to the nearest dip-tanks.
“In other districts visited, furthest dip-tanks were approximately 10km away from villages. Of the 30 dip-tanks that I inspected, I gathered that 27 of them were in a deplorable state and needed rehabilitation. These dip-tanks did not have standard requirements like roofs to prevent the dip chemical from unwanted dilutions and evaporations,” Chiri said.
“They did not have races to guide cattle where they are supposed to be, and head-clamps that keep the cattle in position to allow for ease of vaccination and other treatments.”
The AG’s report pointed out that annual reports for the years 2015 to 2017 indicated that the
Agriculture ministry had managed to rehabilitate some of the dip-tanks with assistance from non-governmental organisations such as Amalima, Plan International and World Vision.
Chiri said the inadequate implementation of the dipping programme resulted in outbreaks of tick-borne diseases.
“A total of 7 667 cases of tick-borne diseases were recorded in 2015, and 1 902 cattle died. In 2016, the number of cases declined by 3,74% to 7 380 compared to 2015. However, the deaths recorded increased by 3,42% to 1 967. In 2018, the number of cases recorded increased by 10,80% and deaths recorded increased by 20,13%, compared to the year 2017.”
The AG said an analysis of tick-borne disease reports indicated that between 2015 and 2017 an average of 27% tick-borne cases resulted in the deaths of cattle in all provinces, with 6 232 deaths from 23 224 cases recorded.
She said in the period January to May 2018, a total of 2 982 cases were recorded, which resulted in 983 deaths (33%) of cattle throughout the country.