THERE is need for Zambia to immediately establish a disease control fund to curb livestock diseases, says National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR), animal and production consultant David Daka.
Mr Daka said the fund should be managed by the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) and the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) for farmers to have easy access to money.
Mr Daka told the Parliamentary Committee hearing on the Auditor General’s report on management and control of livestock diseases that the fund should have strict checks and balances so that it was not mismanaged.
“We are proposing an immediate establishment of a disease control fund. It should come with strict measures to monitor the funds for the intended use,” he said.
Mr Daka said the fund would be successful if authorities involved worked together like the way Food Reserve Agency (FRA) had managed the Farmers Input Support Programme (FISP) programme for maize.
He said funding and enthusiastic people were paramount to the success of the fund. Mr Daka also said the disease situation in Zambia had led to limited export opportunities thereby reducing the potential of contribution to foreign exchange earnings.
“The negative impact of livestock diseases and limited access to markets on the farmer’s livelihood is devastating,
“Livestock farmers have experienced a reduced animal growth which in turn has led to reduced food security,” he said
And NISIR veterinary consultant Dr Geoffrey Zyambo said there was need to regularly use vaccines as a way of reducing livestock diseases.
Dr Zyambo observed that deep tanks gobbled colossal sums of money as compared to vaccines.
“Vaccines would go a long way in reducing livestock diseases. We have to start using vaccines than deep tanks to reduce these diseases,” he said.
Meanwhile livestock development trust director Renford Gombwa says the introduction of night road blocks to stop people from moving livestock from one town to another in the dark will go a long way to curbing livestock diseases.
Mr Gombwa told the same committee that there was need to put up deliberate road blocks in the night to cage illegal movement of animals to control the spread of diseases.
“We propose deliberate mounting of roadblocks in the night to catch these people in a habit of moving livestock in the night, we believe that this measure will help control animal diseases,” he said.