Finance and Economic Development Minister, Mthuli Ncube has set aside ZWL$5, 3 billion for livestock farming across the country next year.
Livestock farmers especially in Matabeleland have in the past accused the government of prioritising crop farmers ahead of them.
“The country has lost substantial livestock attributable to drought and floods which reduced pastures as well as the continued outbreak of pests and disease attacks including the fall army worm; tuta absoluta, foot and mouth disease, anthrax and theileriosis in cattle,” said Ncube while presenting the 2021 national budget Thursday.
He said that would be supported by private sector initiatives like the Zimplats Cattle Ranching Project and development partner support including the Zimbabwe Agriculture growth Programme (ZAGP) meant to develop beef, dairy, poultry and goats and piggery value chains.
“To contain the devastating effects of January disease (Theileriosis) which has resulted in the loss of over 300 000 cattle valued at around ZWL$4.3 billion, arrangements are underway to increase the dipping sessions from the current 32 to 48 dipping sessions per year,” said Ncube.
“To sustain the anticipated dipping sessions, the government will avail ZWL$577 million for the procurement of dipping chemicals. In addition, the government has supported procurement of 600 000 kg of tick grease for distribution to vulnerable households, with 80 000 kg having already been distributed to the targeted beneficiaries. Furthermore, the 2021 budget provides for the upgrading of at least 50 existing dipping facilities per province as well as rehabilitation of dip tanks countrywide.
The Finance Minister said the government remained committed towards controlling the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease especially in the non-traditional areas of Mashonaland and Manicaland provinces.
“This entails conducting regular vaccinations of cattle in the traditional red zones as well as contain the spread of the disease through fencing of national parks,” he said.
“The erection of a game fence will ensure permanent separation of the African buffalo which is the host for the disease. To this effect, resources amounting to ZWL$650 million will be availed during the year 2021 completion of the remaining 100km fence at Gonarezhou National Park.”