The Botswana Meat Commission, at Maun, will continue to slaughter cattle from Okavango following an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in Ngamiland’s Matsebe cattle post two weeks ago, said the Deputy Director of Animal Health, Dr Kobedi Segale.
He said that export of cattle from Okavango to Zimbabwe will also continue.
Segale said that the fact that there has been an eight-month break without recording clinical cases of FMD in Ngamiland is an indication that the situation is gradually improving.
On challenges their campaign is facing, Kobedi said that they have problems, like disease control fences being destroyed by elephants, flooding of disease fences and difficulty in accessing some crushes because of floods, which also deluge patrol paths.
The latest outbreak has come at a time when farmers in Ngamiland were hoping that they would get a chance to export their cattle to Zimbabwe where cattle are reported to be fetching very high prices. Some farmers now fear that the outbreak will lead to their cattle dying from drought as there has been a poor rainy season this year.
One of such farmers, Chris Phogo, said that he wonders how he will pay the money he owes government if his cattle died from drought as he has no other source of income besides selling cattle.
Farmers in Okavango and Ngamiland were given soft loans by the government to cushion them from financial problems they are facing because they could not sell their cattle to the BMC because of the FMD outbreak.