By Wisdom Ngwira
Despite Mzuzu Agricultural Development Division (MZADD) having administered Foot and Mouth disease vaccine to cattle in Mzimba District last year, there are new reports of another outbreak of the disease in the district.
Reports from communities in Euthini Extension Planning Area (EPA) indicate that 300 cattle have already died since end December, 2019 and early January this year, 2020 due to the disease.
Chairperson for Farmers Union of Malawi (Northern Region) Chapter, Albert Nyirongo confirmed the recurrence of the fatal disease and that the situation is very bad.
“I can really confirm that I am getting reports from farmers in Euthini area who say the disease is claiming lives of cattle on daily basis and that currently, about 300 cattle have been confirmed dead due to the suspected Foot and Mouth disease in Euthini EPA,” said Nyirongo.
He further said about 200 cattle have died in Mbalachanda EPA due to the suspected same disease.
“I can further confirm that we are having a lot of cattle sick due the suspected disease which started around December and January, up to now, we are still experiencing such deaths.
“This is a very worrisome situation considering that many rural farmers in the area depend on cattle for income and livelihood,” said Nyirongo.
But reacting to the farmers concern about the suspected outbreak, Acting Animal Health Officer for Northern Region, Wellings Munthali expressed surprise for the recurrence of the Foot and Mouth disease, saying his office has not received official reports of the disease in the said areas.
“What we know is that the cattle were dying last year around November and December, such that when we went there, we established that the cattle were dying due to tick bone diseases, not the feared foot and mouth disease.
“Basically, we rely on our extension workers who give us official reports, so from last year’s reports, we established there was an outbreak of tick bone disease and that some cattle were dying due to lack of food,” said Munthali.
Meanwhile, in a separate interview, Lundani Jere, a farmer from Madede Village in Traditional Authority Chindi in the district has asked government to quickly come to their rescue.
“Farmers from Manjawira Moyo, Msazura Mng’andu and Luji Phiri from Euthini and others from Ndaghala, Mfipa Jere, Madede and other areas from Mbalachanda EPA are the mostly hit.
“We are asking government to quickly come in,” he said.