ZNFU urges govt to declare FMD a national disaster

By Staff Reporter

ZAMBIA National Farmers Union (ZNFU) has asked government to declare the outbreak of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) a national disaster in view of the reports of over 1,000 cattle in Eastern Province reportedly infected with the disease.

In a statement, the union said that with new reported cases of Foot and Mouth Disease in Monze, Pemba, Chisekesi and Mazabuka emerging spontaneously, farmers are extremely concerned that a decisive position is not being taken to contain the disease.

ZNFU indicated that so far in Southern Province, there is little headway being made to contain the disease, with numbers of animals carrying the serotype O increasing.

The ZNFU said while a Task Force has been formed and working day in and out to contain the situation, the vaccine for the disease is not readily available and farmers are now panicking over the matter.

The union says farmers feel there should be more effort being put into place to eliminate the FMD saying progress was at snail’s pace.

It said Farmers are now worried that with reports of huge numbers reportedly infected in Eastern Province, it may leave the country in a precarious position.

The Union said the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock must take leadership on the matter and not rely on the private sector to drive the process.

And meanwhile, Mazabuka District has recorded a new case of Foot and Mouth Disease in the Kafue floods outside Chalimbana.

Authorities have also maintained abattoirs without cold rooms will remain closed indefinitely.

District Commissioner Jane Chirwa disclosed the development during a press briefing at her office Monday afternoon and said the affected animal had been quarantined.

Chirwa, who is also Chairperson for the District Disease Control Task Force, expressed concern that the disease has continued to spread.

She added that three more check points are going to be mounted on the Lusaka-Livingstone road in efforts to control the disease.

Chirwa further warned that any vehicle found illegally transporting animals without proper documentation woud be forfeited to the state.

Meanwhile, Southern Province Veterinary Officer, Dr. Muzumbwe Kanemanema recently disclosed that close to 100, 000 animals had so far been vaccinated against the deadly disease including those in Mazabuka.