Query: How does government intend to control the spread of Lumpy Skin Disease in the villages of Otjituuo?
• There will be vaccinations.
• Movement restrictions.
• Active lumpy skin disease surveillance activities to establish the extent of the disease.
• Suspension of all animal gathering activities in the restricted areas.
• Roadblocks set up at strategic points in order to ensure compliance with the measures.
Additionally, the Ministry is strongly advising farmers in Okakarara constituency and the country at large to vaccinate their cattle against lumpy skin disease and to control vectors. The Ministry is encouraging farmers to report any suspected lumpy skin disease cases to their nearest state veterinary services office for further investigation. The Ministry is also advising farmers that they can administer sulphonamides and antibiotics to control secondary bacterial infection and good nursing care to the cattle showing clinical signs.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry further requests the full cooperation of farmers and the public during this time to ensure the shortest possible delay to normalization of farming in the area.
Query: How many cattle have been diagnosed with the disease or are showing symptoms, and what are some of the symptoms of lumpy skin disease?
Response: So far a total number of 11 cattle from five different homesteads have been affected in Otjituuo and Okondjatu areas in Okakarara constituency.
Lumpy skin disease is a viral disease of cattle that is spread by biting insects such as mosquitoes, characterised by nodules on the skin and other parts of the body.
Query: What measures have been implemented by the Ministry since the armyworm outbreak? Also, how big is the threat caused by armyworm outbreak to food security?
Response: The Ministry dispatched technical teams to the regions to assess the extent of the damage spread and to identify the pest, and came up with mitigation measures. The Ministry has embarked on facilitating the procurement of effective chemicals and additional spraying machines as well as engaging in bilateral consultation with various stakeholders, such as NNFU, NAB, AgriBusDev, AMTA, and commercial farmers’ representatives, chemical suppliers, to come up with a solution to combat the outbreak, hence to facilitate procurement and distribution of chemicals to both communal and commercial farmers.
Armyworms are considered to be pests of economic importance due to their high mobility, reproduction, and their ability to develop resistance to pesticides. The larva normally burrows inside the plant hence destroying the growing point of a plant and makes it difficult for the chemical to be in contact with the larva. They affect food security in the country, as they are capable of destroying the entire field in a matter of days and they spread very fast with the aid of wind.
• Margaret S. Kalo, Senior Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, E-mail Adress: firstname.lastname@example.org