The Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development says it needs about K400 million to vaccinate about 80 000 head of cattle in Mzimba South in the wake of the foot and mouth disease outbreak in the district.
The development follows a statement the Ministry of Agriculture issued on February 26 this year banning slaughter and movement of cattle in the district.
Speaking in an interview on Tuesday, deputy director for animal health (field services) Gilson Njunga said his office is currently running tests to establish the virus causing the disease in Mzimba.
The department has since ordered that no foot and mouth vaccine should be administered until after tests results are out.
Njunga said: “We took samples in Mzimba in February and the first test confirmed that foot and mouth disease has hit the district. There are about five different viruses that cause this disease. We are conducting tests to find the specific one.
“Then we will proceed to procure vaccines to run a vaccination campaign targeting about 80 000 cattle and that process will need K400 million. We are optimistic the ministry will support us in this.”
Njunga said that the disease has now affected Jenda, Champhira, Emfeni, Bulala, Manyamula, Mqocha and Edingeni and appealed to all butchery entrepreneurs in the district to adhere to the ban.
Mzimba Butchers Association chairperson Gilbert Nyirenda said the ban has affected them economically and appealed to authorities to speed up the process and have the livestock vaccinated. n