Vet Department Seizes Meat Over Foot And Mouth In Kwekwe

By Mark Mhukayesango

KWEKWE, November 4, 2015-Midlands Province Veterinary Services has impounded over 500 kilograms
of beef from Red Zone district of Gokwe South which is reeling under
the deadly foot and mouth disease , Radio VOP has learnt.
The beef was impounded after the veterinary services working in
cahoots with the police, mounted road blocks to monitor beef being
transported from the Red Zone districts.
With the disease spreading north of Kwekwe into Lower Gweru, Kwekwe
District Veterinary Services Administrator ,Daniel Hove said the road
blocks had been set up to control the disease which has destroyed
“With the help of police ,we impounded 500 kilograms of beef which was
spoilt by the disease. This is the first of its kind and we urge
cattle farmers to exercise caution because they risk putting lives in
danger,” said Hove.
500 kilograms of beef was confiscated and burnt , with the local
businessman losing thousands of dollars.
“It has been noted that the disease is spreading northwards hence we
came up with the program. the purpose is to stop the disease from
spreading to Northern Provinces such as Mashonaland and Manicaland,”
Hove told Radio VOP.
Hove urged cattle farmers to comply with veterinary services
department and control the movement of cattle.
“We are urging farmers to comply veterinary restrictions because the
illegal movement of cattle and the movement of cattle in search of
pastures especially around this time of the year,” said Hove.
Foot and Mouth disease spreads faster during summer and as cattle move
in search of pastures, but beef dealers
Cattle auctions and markets have been suspended since May and this has
affected farmers who have lost their only source of income.
Cain Mlilo a cattle farmer in Shurugwi South said the foot and mouth
outbreak has grossly affected cattle business as farmers are not
allowed to trade in cattle until the disease is under control.
 “Most farmers are beginning to count their losses because the cattle
auction was the only way we could make money,” Mlilo said.
“We also lost out on good business during the Midlands Agricultural
Show because of the outbreak that led to the banning of the cattle
exhibition. This is a dire situation that requires quick
intervention,” said Mlilo.
Although $1.5 million has been disbursed by treasury towards the
control of foot and mouth, cattle farmers and abattoir operators are
affected by the outbreak.
Costs related to transporting cattle from other provinces for
slaughter in the Midlands have soared since the veterinary services
department banned movement of cattle from Red Zone Districts.
“The outbreak has really increased costs related to transport and
slaughtering because we are now buying cattle from other areas which
are not affected,” Moses Mutendi, a cattle dealer said.
Red Zone areas are ones with high risk of the disease and include
farmers in areas like Zvishavane, Mapanzure, Somabhula, Woodlands and
Provincial veterinary officer, Thomas Sibanda said that the ban on
cattle market and any other dealings regarding beef would be suspended
until the disease is under control.
“Since all cattle sales were suspended, beef dealers also have to
comply to the ban so that we save the situation. This suspension will
remain until we are sure that cattle from Zvishavane, Gweru and Mvuma,
where there are suspected outbreaks of the disease, have been treated
properly at every step of the supply chain,’ said Sibanda.
Speaking in Gweru recently, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation
and Mechanisation Paddy Zhanda assured cattle farmers in the Midlands
that government had come up with a committee to address the foot and
mouth outbreak.
“We have come up with a committee that will look into the issues of
foot and mouth through mobilizing resources within the sector itself,”
Zhanda said.
In 2001 Zimbabwe suspended beef exports to the European Union (EU) and
other countries persistent outbreaks of foot and mouth disease which
have since resurfaced sporadically in areas like Gwanda.