BY AMOS BATISAYI THE Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme-Beef Enterprises Strengthening and Transformation (ZAGP-BEST) project has brought relief to cattle farmers in Midlands after successfully coordinating mass vaccination programmes in the province.
The vaccination programme is being implemented at the various Cattle Business Centres (CBCs) situated in Kwekwe, Shurugwi and Gokwe South District.
The CBCs are acting as hubs for cattle business from input provision, routine operations, feedloting and output markets.
The European Union (EU) funded project is working with government departments and private sector partners to support small to medium-scale beef cattle producers.
BEST project livestock and livelihoods specialist, Gift Chomuzinda said the vaccinations programme was meant to enhance disease prevention and control as well as minimising cattle deaths from curable and non-curable diseases.
“Smallholder cattle are prone to a number of diseases because of failure to follow vaccination calendars,” Chomuzinda said.
“The CBCs are acting as a one stop shops for Beef Value Chain (BVC) related services.”
Thembelani Chuma a Gokwe based communal farmer said: “We appreciate the BEST project because we have a relationship between BEST, Department of Veterinary Service (DVS) and the community
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“We are preventing the deaths of our cattle through these timeous vaccinations.”
The chairperson of the Gokwe CBC who only identified himself as Mr Mlalazi said diseases that were a major problem in the community include anthrax, quarter evil, lumpy skin and foot and mouth”.
“As a community we are using our own resources to fight the various diseases that have affected our herd,” he said.
To ensure sustainability of mass vaccinations, the BEST project has created linkages between farmers and drugs suppliers, synergies with DVS, promoted farmers to work in groups and mobilised support from various stakeholders involved in the beef value chain.
The BEST project is also providing financial literacy to farmers so that they take farming as a business through aggregating for the purchases of feed and vaccines.
“Doses come in 50-100 doses which is difficult to purchase for small holder farmers whose average herd is 10-15 animals.
“With farmers buying in groups, drugs become cheaper through bulk buying and no doses will be put to waste,” said Chomuzinda.
Mlalazi added: “Here in Gokwe we have put our funds in one basket as 6 CBCs for bulk procurement of vaccines for mass vaccinations.”
DVS in parternship with the BEST project are undertaking mass vaccination program to prevent lumpy skin, Anthrax and Botulism.
Mass vaccinations prevent diseases and improve the national herd through reduced mortalities and increased productivity.
“In a bid to fight tick borne diseases, the EU funded project has also installed spray races at CBCs in Midlands to complement government efforts on tick borne diseases control ” said Chomuzinda.