Lift ban on livestock movement, it’s suicidal for farmers – CTPD

Government needs to lift the prolonged ban of the movement of livestock in some areas around the country because the status quo is suicidal for farmers who have no alternative viable source of income, says CTPD.

And CTPD has condemned the indiscriminate slaughter of livestock belonging to a Pemba farmer by veterinary officials under the Ministry of Livestock earlier this month, which ought to have been better handled with more transparency.

In a statement, Monday, Centre for trade Policy and Development (CTPD) executive director Isaac Mwaipopo urged government to lift the prolonged ban of the movement of livestock in agricultural-dependent parts of the country, such as Southern and Eastern Province, because the moratorium left farmers with no viable source of income, a situation that would exacerbate the hunger crisis in drought-hit areas.

“While we appreciate the efforts that the government has put in place to contain the spread of the Foot and Mouth Disease, we should also not be oblivious to the fact that the livelihood of most of the farmers in the two areas largely depends on agriculture vis-à-vis crop and livestock farming. As a country, we are all alive to the fact that the 2018/2019 farming season did not go well in the southern half of the country. The country is expecting very low yields from the southern half of the country. This means the government will be overwhelmed to provide relief food. Against this background, it is our considered view that the only window of hope for the farmers in the two affected provinces lies in their ability to maximize revenue generation for their livestock. As such, a prolonged ban on the movement of their only viable source of income is suicidal not just for the farmers affected but for the government, too,” Mwaipopo stated.

“As CTPD, we would like to call upon the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries to step up and address the problem in Southern and Eastern Province with the urgency that it deserves. If left unchecked, it may escalate into a national crisis. The affected farmers, who are growing impatient every passing day, may resort to smuggling their animals out of the affected provinces as a survival strategy. This can be prevented by a more proactive approach on the part of the government.”

And Mwaipopo described the indiscriminate slaughter of livestock belonging to a Pemba farmer by vetinerary officials under the Ministry of Livestock earlier this month as disturbing, which ought to have been handled with more transparency.

“We are particularly disturbed with reports of eight carcasses that were reportedly missing from the original number of animals that were slaughtered. While we have heard that the said animals were burnt and that the vet officials did not need any permission or consent from the farmer to take the action they did, we are of the view that in the interest of transparency and accountability, this action should have been done in an open manner. The slaughter of the animals was a public thing, which was all over the media, and so should have been all other actions that followed,” stated Mwaipopo.

“We would also like to urge our government to invest more money in the veterinary departments of our country. Animal health and welfare requires substantial investments. We have observed with sadness that we tend to be very reactive every time a crisis befalls us as opposed to being proactive. We know as a country that we are so prone to tick-borne diseases. This is the more reason we ought to invest in technologies that can control ticks.”

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