Inadequate funding for procurement of foot and mouth vaccines is hampering efforts by government to mitigate the high impact disease which affects livestock.

Every four to six months at least 500 000 doses have to be administered at a cost of about US$1 million.

Principal director in the Department of Livestock and Veterinary Services, Dr UnesuUshewokunze-Obatulu said foot and mouth vaccinations should be carried out regularly and consistently but insufficient resources have resulted in many areas in the southern low-veld which are due for vaccination and revaccination failing to undergo the process.

“It spreads much more easily when the weather is cold like it is now so without vaccines it becomes very difficult and it is one of those diseases which is very sensitive. If we do not show evidence that we are able to keep it under control most of the efforts that the government is embarking on to ensure we have greater productivity and better sanitary control then our export market become very sensitive, we might produce but not be able to sell outside the country,” he said.

Foot and mouth disease immunity lapses each time dosing is skipped with development partners occasionally assist government with vaccines although the support is inconsistent.

Zimbabwe has a cattle herd of between 5.3 million to 5.4 million.