Farmers have expressed hope following the recent rains. Crops and livestock were, in that order, showing signs of moisture stress and dying due to a prolonged dry spell.
Dr Josphat Nyika, the Department of Veterinary Services chief director, has however said farmers should be on guard as the rains are likely to bring more diseases for their livestock.
With these rains, we also expect poverty deaths to decline. However, rains also mean that we should expect more anthrax outbreaks, therefore, farmers should continue to vaccinate their cattle against anthrax.
The department has vaccines to see us through to the second quarter of 2020.
On tick-borne diseases, there has been an improvement in the supply of chemicals. Dipping should increase further because the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has released funds.
Many farmers lost lots of livestock last year due to drought and a number of diseases whilst crop farmers had a poor harvest thereby ushering the country into severe starvation.
There is severe maize shortage in the country, the result of a combination of drought and poor agricultural policies which have depreciated the country’s food production capacity over the past two decades.