THIS year’s edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) attracted only 50 cattle at the Bulawayo Agricultural Society (BAS) with officials attributing this to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease on the outskirts of the city.
BY LUYANDUHLOBO MAKWATI
The veterinary department two weeks ago detected cases of foot and mouth at Mbokodo abattoir, just outside Bulawayo.
Speculation was rife that most farmers pulled out of exhibiting their beasts due to the outbreak.
Over the years, BAS has attracted huge numbers of cattle under exhibition.
However, provincial director for the veterinary department Polex Moyo dismissed reports that an outbreak of foot and mouth forced farmers to shun the event.
Moyo said a combination of factors had caused the decrease.
“I believe it is not true that a decrease of animals in cattle pens at the ZITF is a result of foot and mouth. Last year, there was a decrease compared to other years. People must not use the detection of foot and mouth as an excuse because over the last five years, the numbers have been decreasing,” he said.
Moyo said only one registered farmer pulled out at the last minute.
“There is one farmer who was registered to showcase his beasts at this year’s exhibition who pulled out the last minute.
“The other reason is that our farmers have lost that culture of bringing their breeds to the most-esteemed programme, which is the ZITF,” he said.
The veterinary department recently resolved to suspend the movement of cattle from one point to the other.
BAS had scheduled to pen about 70 pedigrees at this year’s exhibition, which runs concurrently with the ZITF.
But due to the foot and mouth outbreak, the penning has since been cancelled.
The society also suspended the exhibition of goats.
Foot and mouth disease affects cloven-hoofed animals, including cattle, sheep and pigs and has been reported in Matabeleland South.