Zimbabwe: Tick Grease Scheme Helps Cut Cattle Deaths

22 April 2021

The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) has recorded a decline of cattle deaths attributable to tick-borne diseases following the launch of the Presidential blitz tick grease input scheme and farmer contributions towards buying dipping chemicals.

More than one million households benefited from the presidential tick grease programme.

Provincial veterinary director for Midlands province Dr Martin Sibanda said there was a significant improvement in the tick borne diseases burden and deaths of cattle nationwide because of the dry season.

He said heavy rains had triggered disease outbreaks in livestock.

"Many cattle are now protected against tick-borne diseases because the grease is being distributed to farmers for free under the Presidential Blitz Tick Grease Programme launched last year by Government to curb the spread of tick-borne diseases," said Dr Sibanda.

"On the other hand, farmers also contributed to the veterinary department in their districts and purchased dipping chemicals. Incessant rains brought negative effects to the livestock as animals were susceptible to so many challenges and most cattle were killed by various diseases."

Dipping was the most and only effective way of managing tick borne diseases, but many dip tanks were not offering the recommended weekly dipping because of lack of dipping chemicals.

There was also low turnout at dip tanks.

Some farmers were not willing to take their cattle for dipping at the communal dip tanks, while some were preferring to conduct the operation themselves, risking doing it in the wrong way.

The country has lost over 2 000 cattle to tick-borne diseases since last year.

For years, smallholder farmers have lost cattle to tick-borne diseases, particularly January Disease (Theileriosis) leading to loss of wealth.

The tick grease programme is used in-between dipping sessions.

January Disease is common between December and March and is spread through the bite of the brown ear tick.

Many provinces have been affected by tick-borne diseases, particularly Theileriosis, red water, heart water and gall sickness.

Mashonaland West province has reported massive cattle deaths because of tick-borne diseases from 2019.

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