The 87th General Assembly of the World Animal conference (OIE) in Paris – France has, as part of its resolutions approved the Contagious Bovine Pleuropeuminia-CBPP and the Peste Petit de Ruminantes (PPR) freedom status without vaccination in Botswana.
Botswana experienced an outbreak of CBPP 1995 after 56 years of freedom from the disease. The outbreak was confined to the north-western region of the country in the Ngamiland District. The disease was eradicated by applying the stamping-out policy that was implemented in April 1996 and resulted in the slaughter of 320,000 cattle. The Botswana government compensated farmers, offering them different compensation options. By the end of 1997, the restocking exercise introduced 70,000 cattle into Ngamiland. Botswana was declared CBPP-free by the World Organisation of Animal Health in 1998.
This past week, Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security (MADFS) – Fidelis Molao applauded the move describing it as a landmark in the bigger context of striving for animal disease free beef and as a trust and confidence building measure on the part of farmers and for Botswana’s trading partners such as the European Union(EU).
“I wish to inform you that it is a pleasure for me that OIE finally declared our country free from the Contagious Bovine Plueropeuminia (CBPP) and the Peste Petit de Ruminantes (PPR) without vaccination.”
Still at the assembly, Mmadinare and Bobirwa areas which last experienced and FMD breakout in 2011, have now been declared FMD free without vaccination. The area is also referred to as Zone 07 according to the disease control classifications.
The Minister explained that this comes after concerted efforts by the Department of Veterenary Services (DVS) and other collaborating stakeholders who helped eradicate the disease by modified coding which included stamping out by removing all the sick and affected cattle. This was then followed by vaccination of all the remaining ones for a consecutive period of two years.
Still regarding FMD, vast parts of Botswana have been approved as OIE FMD free zone. These cover; Ghanzi, Kgalagadi, Kweneng and Southern, South East and Kgatleng and Central as well as well as North East.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) Boitumelo Mogome has echoed the Minister’s words and commended the MADFS officials for a job well done. She said they worked tirelessly to secure the status every farmer will sure delight in.
Mogome added, “In that context the decision by government to have the BMC increase price of carcasses by P3 across all the grades cannot have come at a better time. The farmers as encouraged by the Minister as well, would be better served taking advantage of the increase, and sell a few to feed the rest so they can make it through the drought.”
The BMC price incentives partly aimed at relieving farmers of the burden resulting from drought follows yet a 35% subsidy by government on cattle feeds to mitigate the effects of drought.
However, for all the areas approved for FMD freedom status, there is a process of issuing certificates to confirm the status for Botswana’s trading partners. This arrangement according to Molao may take some months as there are a number of processes and protocols involved.
The animal health conference was reportedly attended by 120 directors of Veterinary Services Departments and or representatives from various member countries.
For his part Dr George Matlho – General Manager of BVI said“The extent of the end of the disease is such that we are in the process of shipping to Debrazit, Ethiopia,the last remains of the PANVAC, the vaccine we had created for the CBPP.”