Friday, December 6, 2019
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Farmers want cattle dips revived

An abandoned Mikumbune Cattle Dip in Imenti South Sub County. Photo By Richard Muhambe

Livestock farmers in Meru County want all cattle dips in the region revived as many remain redundant posing health pollution and environmental hazards to local people.
The farmers argue that the cattle dips were derelict and have become grounds for breeding of dangerous insects such as mosquitoes among others.
Mr. Samson Mathiu, a resident and cattle farmer at Mikumbune Village in Imenti South Sub County says the dips which were established in the 1960s have been abandoned because of zero grazing despite them having played crucial roles in improving animal health.
Mathiu argued that dips remain key despite many farmers opting to spray their animals to guard them against ticks’ attack which killed the project.
He noted that spraying which is a method of pest control was causing environmental pollution in every homestead unlike cattle dips where all animals in the village used to be washed at one demarcated area.
He added that if the dips are revived, farmers will avoid loses since animals joining the village from other areas shall be washed off ticks hence stopping the spread of the pests.
“With the dips, farmers can make it a tradition that every new cow brought to the village should be dipped to kill ticks,” said the farmer.
He further highlighted that dipping was less expensive hence more friendly to the low income earners, sentiments which were shared by Mr. Nicolus Mutea a resident from the same area.
They regretted that some fields set aside for dips had allegedly been grabbed calling on the government to ensure such lands were recovered.
Meanwhile County Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Lawrence Mwongela said the county government has plans to rehabilitate cattle dips noting that close to Sh. 3 million have been set aside towards the initiative in 2018/2019 financial year.
“Already Sh. 2.9m has been allocated towards the rehabilitation of selected cattle dips,” he stated.
He said 18 cattle dips have been identified for the purpose adding that more shall be supported once the community members show the interest of having the facility revived.
He noted that some regions in the county among them Igembe and Tigania were still using cattle dips.
Dr. Mwongela underscored the value of cattle dips saying they provide maximum protection against ticks since the animal’s body is fully immersed in the pesticide.
“Unlike spraying which leads to the collapse of cattle dips, dipping is very effective because the pesticide gets to every part of the body where ticks hide,” said Mwongela.
He added that spraying has been identified as a major pollution agent especially that almost every homestead sprays their cattle.
“Dipping is environmentally friendly because the structure is located at a strategic place which is well protected. The animals are also given time to dry before moving around hence less spread of the acaricide to the environment,” he posed.
Intensive use of chemicals in agriculture has been blamed as one of the major causes of lifestyle diseases such as cancer.
He revealed that besides adoption of zero grazing, poor management of the cattle dips is another cause that led to the collapse of the important facilities.
Mwongela further condemned any grabbing of fields set aside for dips, saying that in future they will be used as demonstration areas for improvement of livestock production.
Cattle dips are also economical since the water used is re-used for a very long time hence very sustainable in areas with water shortage.
By Richard Muhambe

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