Gwanda (New Ziana) – While the current good rains experienced countrywide have brought a sigh of relief to crop farmers, their livestock counterparts in Matabeleland South province are singing a different tune as rain-induced animal diseases, mainly affecting cattle, have began to hit the region.
Agriculture officials here are reporting isolated outbreaks of theileriosis, a tick-borne cattle disease commonly known as January disease, which has began to claim livestock.
Matabeleland South is a predominantly livestock farming region, and such outbreaks of animal diseases often result in farmers incurring huge losses.
So far, parts of Insiza district, namely Lancaster and Gwatemba, have reported 43 cattle losses attributed to January disease.
Provincial veterinary services officer, Enat Mdlongwa said some parts of the region where outbreaks of theileriosis have been reported have been quarantined.
“One farmer in Insiza lost 17 cattle before moving the remaining herd to Lancaster farm and of that 20 have since died. So we are carrying out an awareness campaign to tell farmers about a possible outbreak of theileriosis and we advise farmers to dip their cattle regularly,” he said.
The government has made available 600 000 kilogrammes of tick grease, and other dipping chemicals countrywide to help farmers save their livestock.