Cattle 'poisonings' rock Ohangwena

03 July 2019 | Agriculture

The directorate of veterinary services (DVS) at Ohangwena is investigating a possible case of poisoning after 18 cattle died mysteriously over the weekend.

Martha Kavela from Ohaihana village near Eenhana lost 18 cattle on Friday evening and does not know the cause of death.

She said her livestock had shown no previous signs of being ill.

The information ministry's offices at Ohangwena Region informed Namibian Sun that another farmer at Ohainengena village lost seven cattle, while another in the Omundaungilo area lost 10 cattle on the same day. Chief veterinarian in the region, Dr Rauna Athingo, confirmed that samples were taken from the Ohaihana cattle and were sent to a Windhoek laboratory on Monday morning. The tests will determine the cause of death, she said.

Kavela told Namibian Sun that on Friday evening they heard the cattle making strange noises while in their kraal, and after investigating, they saw that the animals were fighting for their lives.

“We had 46 cattle in total and they all ate mahangu stalks from the field. They have been eating them since the beginning of June and now there is only stems, but we never experienced that anything was wrong until Friday evening. The cattle also drink from a community earthen dam. We just do not know what went wrong,” Kavela said. Athingo said she could not say much until the laboratory test results are available.

She also cautioned farmers not to feed their livestock uncertified fodder. Athingo advised that community members should not consume the meat of the dead animals.

Due to the devastating drought and poor rainfall, mahangu crops have not matured.

Livestock owners were urged not to feed their animals young and underdeveloped mahangu plants, especially those that have not grown heads, as they may be toxic.

This was after a farmer at Omutsegwonime in the Oshikoto Region lost 10 cattle after they were fed immature mahangu crops.

State veterinarian at Omuthiya, Dr Frenada Haufiku, has previously cautioned farmers not to feed their livestock underdeveloped mahangu and sorghum plants.

ILENI NANDJATO