By Staff Reporter
THE Government of Zimbabwe has assigned the the Zimbabwe Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre (SIRDC) to produce livestock vaccines for the nation, SIRDC CEO, Roby Mafoti has said.
Speaking at the Annual National Agribusiness Conference (ANAC), Mafoti said the country will have the first vaccines by the end of the year.
“It is important to note that Zimbabwe already has capacity to produce and formulate some of the vaccines of national economic importance as proven at the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS).Government has taken a proactive approach by assigning SIRDC to develop and produce livestock vaccines such as Foot and Mouth Disease virus, Anthrax, Brucellosis, Newcastle, Theleiriosis, Lumpy Skin Disease, Rabies, and Ivermectin- an antibiotic. We need to ask ourselves critical questions such as the drive behind all other countries to be self reliant in their livestock vaccine needs and what the implications are for self reliance in terms of the economic development of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Mafoti said SIRDC is currently coordinating the national effort to address the livestock ‘vaccines gap’ by establishing a national livestock vaccines stage gate team. The firm is also promoting translational activities from basic research to clinical development.
“Equipment for vaccines production is currently being procured as we speak. We are also promoting strategic alliances among relevant national and International stakeholders. These include Universities, Department of Veterinary Services (DVS), the Medicines Control Association of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) and foreign companies. We need to establish an internationally competitive vaccine production basis,” he said.
“Furthermore, we are spearheading the establishment of production facilities for specific livestock vaccines. Focus is being placed on improvement of regulatory systems for new vaccines. We are working with government and stakeholders to establish local livestock vaccines, manufacturing capability including material and technology transfer agreements,” he said.
Speaking broadly at on the livestock sector, Mafoti said the country is confronted with various challenges including movement of cattle from the dry south to the Highveld so as to prevent losses, thus concentrating the beef export herd in Mashonaland.
“We have a number of challenges bedevilling the country, Ranches in Natural Regions four and five are increasingly being turned to wildlife. We are also faced with transboundary disease outbreaks and inadequate resourcing of the livestock extension system from the national budget leading to shortage of dipping chemicals. Furthermore, farmers are no longer dipping their cattle due to lack of maintenance of communal dipping facilities,” he added.