Lumpy skin disease outbreak hits dairy farmers in Malawi

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By Oscar Nkala:

The Malawian government has confirmed the outbreak of lumpy skin disease, which has affected over 1 100 cattle in three dairy farming districts of the Southern Province.

District Animal Health and Livestock Development Officer McKinley Gudubuza said due to the shortage of vaccines, only 800 cows have been vaccinated against the disease.

He said dairy herds were the most affected, and called on government to urgently acquire vaccines to save the sub-sector from collapse. The disease has already caused a drastic drop in daily milk output per cow.

Estimates show that each cow that previously produced up to 30 litres a day, but the volumes have declined to as low as one litre per cow daily.

The department of animal health and livestock management are holding meetings to raise farmer awareness of the disease. Dairy farmers in the Thyolo district own an estimated 48,000 dairy cows.