By CHALI MULENGA
DEPUTY Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Luxon Kazabu has disclosed Government has allocated K52.2 million towards the construction of dip tanks and embarked on a programme to help small scale-farmers build the structures.
Mr Kazabu said as Government is committed to controlling tick- borne diseases, it also wants to alleviate poverty among the rural communnities.
Mr Kazabu was speaking in an interview with journalists in Livingstone.
â€œGovernment is aware of the cost of constructing a dip tank and the cost is beyond the reach of most of the small farmers as it is more than K200,000.
Government appreciates the importance of the dip tanks as they will enable farmers to dip their animals which in turn will help in eradicating tick-borne diseases,â€ he said.
He said funding has been a challenge despite the Ministry of Finance trying to source the money.
He said if Government leaves the challenge of managing tick-borne diseases to farmers, it will not be able to attain its goal on livestock production.
He said Southern, Central and Western provinces are critical in implementing this programme in the country as these areas are prone to east coast fever, which is tick-borne.
Mr Kazabu revealed that Government will not restock until the disease burden is brought under control.
â€œIf as Government we restock in an area where the disease has not yet been fully controlled, it will merely be an academic exercise because there will be nothing that it will achieve by doing so,â€ he said.
He explained that Government is aware of the logistical challenges the staff on the ground are facing and it is making efforts to reverse the trend.
He further called on the people to ensure that they help in curbing illegal livestock movement in the country as Government was unable to place police officers in strategic points.
By CHALI MULENGA