Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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Farmer in hot soup

Farmer in hot soup
Cde Zhanda

Cde Zhanda

From George Maponga in Masvingo
GOVERNMENT has ordered the killing of more than 20 cattle infected with foot and mouth in Masvingo that were clandestinely transported by a livestock farmer from Mwenezi.The cattle were moved from a foot and mouth red zone area. The development comes as plans are also underway to take legal action against the cattle farmer, Mr Onesimo Mukumba, after he allegedly disregarded the ban on cattle movement in the province because of the foot and mouth outbreak.

Mr Mukumba allegedly moved cattle recently from Mwenezi to his Windcrest farm in Masvingo East leading to fears of foot and mouth outbreak that cost Government over $60 000 to vaccinate cattle against in areas around his farm. Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development responsible for Livestock Paddy Zhanda on Tuesday confirmed receiving reports of a farmer who violated the country’s statutes by allegedly moving cattle from a foot and mouth red zone.

He said the cattle moved by Mr Mukumba from Mwenezi would be ‘killed’ saying Government would never tolerate people who violate the law. “We are guided by policy and the policy is very clear on what happens when livestock is moved from a foot and mouth red zone to a green zone. We will obviously take action against people who violate the law to suit their goals and in this case we have reports of a farmer who moved cattle from a red zone in Mwenezi.

“Those cattle will be killed there is no doubt about it,’’he said. “Government was also forced to use scarce resources to vaccinate all the livestock around that farm (Mr Mukumba’s Windcrest farm) to contain the foot and mouth outbreak and we will surely take legal action against such a person,’’he added.

Deputy Minister Zhanda said causing the spread of the foot and mouth disease in green zones was detrimental to the country’s economy. He said Government was committed to totally eliminating foot and mouth but said its efforts were sometimes being derailed by individuals who violated the country’s cattle movement rules.

Mr Mukumba denied violating cattle movement regulations saying he had valid permits that empowered him to transport the cattle in question. “I am in possession of permits that enabled me to move the cattle in question. “I never violated any laws or regulations pertaining to movement of cattle,’’ he said. “I am going to meet Deputy Minister Zhanda and brief him about the exact situation on the ground.

Farmers from Masvingo East who spoke to The Herald said they were afraid Mr Mukumba’s movement of cattle would spread foot and mouth in the area. Foot-and-mouth disease has severe implications for animal farming, since it is highly infectious and can be spread by infected animals and its containment demands considerable efforts in vaccination, strict monitoring, trade restrictions, and quarantines, and occasionally the killing of animals.

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