Authorities in KwaZulu-Natal are working to curb the spread of foot and mouth disease. The province’s northern regions like KwaHlabisa, KwaNongoma and Mtubatuba are among the most affected.
Doctor Thembelihle Sikhakhane from the province’s department of agriculture’s veterinary services says the disease is easily spread when people move their livestock.
“We are having an outbreak of Foot and Mouth and it’s spreading and areas that are of concern is Hlabisa, Nongoma area. We are currently vaccinating. The biggest spreader of Foot and Mouth is moving of cattle from one area to another, that’s why we are in this problem. We’ve been asking our people not to move their livestock but people have been paying lobolas. The case in point with the Hlabisa outbreak is because someone received a lobola payment that’s why (there is) Foot and Mouth in Hlabisa. We are having a massive problem where everybody is affected, people should not be moving animals,” says Sikhakhane.
Sikhakhane says the disease impacts the economy, preventing farmers from selling their cattle to other countries.
“Foot and Mouth is an economical disease. I’m dealing with the case here currently people wanting to move cattle to Swaziland and Swaziland is saying “No”, because Swaziland is Foot and Mouth free and their key buyers is European Union, US having Foot and Mouth and the probability of us moving our animals to Swaziland might affect their export market. It is a real problem with loss of jobs, loss of revenue for our country, loss of production but with the effect of it killing people. No, it doesn’t kill people but it does kill animals. It is more of an economic problem,” adds Sikhakhane.
In August last year, the KwaZulu-Natal government says it’s slowly turning the corner in containing the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease in the province: