Cattle stocks target

THE Agriculture Ministry hopes to decrease the prevalence of tuberculosis on cattle stocks around the country to 1.5 per cent from three per cent.

Permanent secretary Uraia Waibuta said for the past six months officials had been out on the field carrying out tests on TB and brucellosis.

“This is part of our ongoing program to identify these cases in order to prevent and eradicate it,” Mr Waibuta said.

“We are are really serious in carrying out the tests.

“For all cows that are slaughtered, farmers are compensated depending on the level of sickness found in them.”

Mr Waibuta said the prevalence of TB on the total number of stocks around the country was only three per cent and they hoped to decrease this to around 1.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, the future of Sucha Singh’s dairy farming business is at stake after losing more than 200 cows to Tuberculosis (TB) over the past six months.

What is presently more worrying for the Waimaro, Tailevu dairy farmer is the results of more TB tests to be carried out in the coming months on his cows.

“Our dairy farm business started from 1933 in Vunidawa, Naitasiri before we moved to Waimaro and since then, we have been experiencing TB in some of our cows, however, it can only be around five to six cases,” Mr Singh said.

“But in the last six months- the first TB test was conducted last year in November and I had 186 cows which had TB. The test in February I got 46 cows with TB bringing the total to 232.

“We can’t really do much about it.”

Mr Singh said the tests would be conducted every three months and he was worried that every week, his herd count would continue to decrease.

Mr Singh now has a total of 368 cows left from the 600 he used to own.

“This is a big loss to the business. In May, there will be another test and I am worried that some of the cows will be tested positive again.

“We have kids schooling and this is the only money we depend on for our livelihoods.

“I have lost too much and I believe I have lost millions of dollars from this TB that has affected my herds of cows.”

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