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Improving livelihoods through control of animal diseases in Cyclone Idai affected areas in Zimbabwe – African Business

FAO Regional Office for Africa
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Many smallholder farmers and marginalized populations in Zimbabwe depend on cattle for their livelihoods. However, a significant number of cattle belonging to these farmers die due to diseases.

Between 2014 and 2020, Zimbabwe lost about 15 328 cattle due to tick-borne diseases resulting in huge economic losses in cattle assets and farm savings in the country.

To reduce livestock deaths, improve farmer livelihoods, promote better livestock production, better nutrition and better life, FAO under the World Bank funded Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP) supported vaccination campaigns for cattle against Lumpy skin, black leg, anthrax, botulism, and new castle vaccination of poultry across 8 ZIRP districts.

FAO also provided acaricides to 546 community managed diptanks in Chimanimani, Chipinge, Buhera, Chikomba, Gutu and Bikita districts to minimise cattle deaths from tick borne related deaths including Theileria (January disease).  

The supply of acaricides has helped to promote the practice of regular dipping amongst the affected communities. Farmers are conducting weekly dipping sessions during the rainy season and fortnightly dipping during the dry periods.

“This is helping cattle owners in Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Masvingo Provinces to manage one of the biggest obstacles (tick-borne diseases) especially Theileriosis (January disease) facing smallholders trying to increase their meat and milk productivity,” says Brian Nhlema FAO-ZIRP project coordinator. 

Working together for improved livelihoods

FAO has worked closely with the Government’s Department for Veterinary Services (DVS) to provide training and technical support to 9000 locally recruited community based vaccinators (CBVs), who in turn have vaccinated approximately 2.1 million birds. Through support and backstopping to Veterinary Extension Workers and Supervisors a total 500,000 cattle were vaccinated against Anthrax, Botulism, Blackleg and &Lumpy Skin Diseases between 2020 and 2021.

The DVS is also training rural farmers led by voluntary Livestock Development Committees (LDCs) on environmental and social management of dip tanks covering safe and secure handling and disposal of dipping chemicals, soil and water conservation, waste management, effluent disposal, constitutional reviews for improving dip tanks governance amongst others. Veterinary staff found that vaccinations and regular dipping has led to a significant drop in tick-borne disease cases and tick borne related deaths by close to 60% in some areas and 100% in others.

“Regular dipping in ZIRP projects districts has resulted in zero cases of tick-borne related deaths in those respective areas in the province,” said Roy Dube the Chief Provincial Animal Health Specialist for Manicaland Province.

Farmers in cyclone Idai affected areas highlighted that the wide-scale vaccinations, deworming campaigns and the regular dipping programme supported by FAO is helping drive up their disposable incomes.

“Vaccinations and regular dipping sessions have resulted in healthier animals that produce more meat and milk and fetch higher market prices. The higher market prices, have allowed women like me to increase spending on household essentials like, clothing, food, health, and my children’s’ education and to invest in Income, savings and lending Groups (ISALs),” says 70 year old Sofia Mucharwa, from Chimombe dip tank, in Mutare District. .

“Cyclone Idai killed a lot of cattle, and those that were left were affected by tick-borne diseases and there was emergence of tick borne diseases. I lost two cattle, to January disease. I did not know what to do, but because of FAO support, I now have the knowledge on how to keep my stock healthy. For the past two years my cattle production has increased, I am able to sale my cattle pay for my children’s school fees, extra lessons, and transport to and from school,” added another farmer and LCD treasurer for Glenview dip tank, Tsanangurai Musavengena (52).

Other benefits reported buy farmers included increased manure to fertilize croplands and improved draft power availability from healthier animals, which can pull the ploughs.

What next after the ZIRP project?

FAO and DVShave taken a two-pronged approach to ensure sustainability of project interventions substantial progress has been made with both approaches.

The first approach focuses on transferring knowledge on the importance of regular dipping and vaccination of livestock in reducing cattle deaths. This has resulted in most farmers understanding the importance of dipping and vaccinating their cattle. Farmers who do not dip their cattle are often heavily fined or prosecuted. 

“To promote regular dipping we have enacted a constitution that is stringent; anyone who does not dip their cattle is fined $20.00 as they endanger our livelihoods.  For enforcement this regulation is supported and enforced by our local leadership” said the LDC chairperson in one of the dip tanks in Chipinge district.

The second approach harnesses the local financial resources (VSLs, ISALs and SACCOs) and market linkages with agro-dealers to ensure that farmers will be able to purchase vaccines and acaricides on their own when the government is incapacitated.

“At Glenview dip tank each stock owner pays $5.00 annually to boost our revolving fund. We use this money to buy acaricides when the government is incapacitated. On a regular basis, we use this money to pay the water carrier. In the future, we will use this money, as advised by FAO to buy personal protective equipment for our dip attendants,” said Musavengena.

FAO through the ZIRP will be providing two out of the seven member LDCs with PPE material including gloves, gowns, boots, head covers, masks. The stockowners will compliment this by providing PPE material for the other five members.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.

This Press Release has been issued by APO. The content is not monitored by the editorial team of African Business and not of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proof readers or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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Open University Malaysia ushers a new era of online education from Malaysia – The PIE News

One of the by-products of the Covid-19 pandemic was the rise of remote learning across academic institutions. While it initially served as a countermeasure to continue providing education in the wake of the virus, the idea of a fully online tertiary education is gradually gaining momentum as people continue to handle a larger portion of their daily affairs digitally.

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Education has highest inflation: ZimStat – Newsday

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THE country’s education sector has the highest inflation compared to other sectors, according to the latest Zimbabwe Statistics Agency (ZimStat) report.

ZimStat says education had the highest inflation at 30% as of September  following a hike in tuition fees.

“Zimbabwe’s major groups with high inflation in September 2022 are: Education (30%), housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (12,10%), communication (8,60%) clothing and footwear (4,90%), health (3,50%) and transport (2,20%),” the report read.

Early this month, University of Zimbabwe (UZ) students staged protests over a 1 000% tuition fee hike that saw learners being asked to pay as much as $500 000 per semester for undergraduate degrees.

But government said the university fees were subsidised and cheaper compared to other countries, stoking more protests. UZ authorities later reviewed the fees downwards.

Government and private schools also hiked fees when schools opened for the third term, with some learning institutions exclusively demanding United States dollars.

Last month, World Remit 2022 Cost of School ranked Zimbabwe’s education as one of the most expensive, leading to a rise in school dropouts.

The report said the cost of education in Zimbabwe was six times more than the total average income for any family.

“To advance this annual study, World Remit observed 11 new countries, looking at the standard school supply costs. Of these, Zimbabwe showed the highest costs relative to average family size and monthly income at nearly 700% of the average household income,” the report read in part.

“In Zimbabwe, costs to send a household of children to school this year will (be) more than six times the average household income for a given family.”

Teacher unions have predicted an increase in school dropouts this year owing to the harsh economic climate and given that government has given schools the greenlight to charge fees in foreign currency.

 Follow us on Twitter @NewsDayZimbabwe

 

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Biti questions Zim law schools: graduates ‘ill-trained, undercooked, dangerous’ – New Zimbabwe.com

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By UK Correspondent


LEADING Harare lawyer and opposition legislator Tendai Biti has lamented the quality of legal training at the country’s universities accusing them of churning out poorly trained graduates onto the market.

Speaking in Parliament last week, Biti said when he trained as a lawyer “it was a vibrant community.

“We had international lectures, Law Journals that we used to write as students. We used to invite senior lawyers like Stanford Moyo to come and give us lectures at the University of Zimbabwe.”

However, although Zimbabwe now has more universities training lawyers, the quality of education has gone down in line with the general decline in standards across the country’s education sector.

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“Every university now has a Faculty of Law. I have no problem with that,” said Biti as he contributed to debate on the Judicial Services Amendment Bill.

Opposition CCC legislator Tendai Biti

“I think lawyers are now like teachers, they are everywhere but the problem is that there is no adequate staff and material to teach those students.

“I take interns at my law firm and some of the kids cannot even write their names. I was asking them to say surely you ought to know this and they said for the past two years we did not learn because of COVID.

“So, we are releasing dangerous, ill-trained, ill-prepared, under taught and under cooked graduates onto the market.”

Biti said the condition of law schools was one of many issues the Bill should address, including the dire state of the country’s courts where infrastructure is in disrepair and magistrates are forced to operate without critical provisions.

“To simply introduce this Bill in a country where we are still operating on second generation technology when other countries are on sixth generation will be a disaster,” he said.

“I submit that let us go back to the drawing board. We need to embrace technology but technology must be put in the context of the condition of the country and I doubt whether Zimbabwe is there.

“Technology must also be introduced in a situation where we are not breaching the country’s supreme laws, in particular the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”

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