Barely a week after the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development announced a temporary ban on movement and slaughter of livestock in Neno and Blantyre districts following a suspected outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, the disease has spread to Dedza and Ntcheu.
A statement issued by the ministry on Tuesday, and signed by Principal Secretary Grey Nyandule Phiri, says new cases have been identified in Linthipe and Bembeke extension planning areas (EPAs) in Dedza and Njolomole EPA in Ntcheu District.
Following the new cases, the ministry has, with immediate effect, instituted measures that include: temporary suspension of all livestock [cattle, goats, sheep and pig] markets, temporary ban of all livestock [cattle, goats, sheep and pig] slaughters, restriction of livestock and livestock products movement in the affected areas.
“[The other measures are] ban on issuance of livestock movement permits from the affected areas, [we have] instituted roadblocks and patrols at strategic points, intensified awareness of the livestock community on the outbreak,” the statement reads.
The statement further says the ministry has imported vaccines and commenced vaccination campaigns in the affected areas of Lisungwi and Kuthembwe EPAs in Neno and Blantyre districts.
In Neno and Blantyre, on-going preliminary investigations conducted by the ministry established that there were a total number of 164 clinical cases in six kraals in Neno and13 cases in six kraals in Kunthembwe, Blantyre.
“The ministry is, therefore, urging the livestock farmers and the general public to cooperate with its officials and security officers including the police during the implementation of the measures,” the statement adds.
Last year, the disease also affected the Shire Valley and negatively impacted meat availability in the Southern Region.
The ban on meat markets also saw prices of meat products skyrocketing as the demand for meat products was high while supply was low.