Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Botswana, Zimbabwe to share costs of fighting FMD along their borders

Botswana will spend P24 million in the fight against Foot and Mouth disease along its border with Zimbabwe.

In return, Zimbabwe will reimburse Botswana the other P12 million in a period of two years.

The Minister of Agriculture, Christian De Graaff, disclosed the latest move at a press conference this week.

The decision to jointly fight the disease with Zimbabwe was taken after the realisation that FMD, which had broken out in places bordering Zimbabwe, had originated from Zimbabwe.

He also said that as a result of the cooperation, FMD control along the border is progressing well and that the third round of vaccination was scheduled to commence on 2 December, 2011.

On whether there was any risk the cattle they were selling to Zimbabwe from areas affected with the disease will not come back to the country with the disease, De Graaff explained that cattle being sold to Zimbabwe are sold for the purpose of slaughtering only.

On the situation of the disease in Ngamiland, De Graaff said that the situation has greatly improved, but that there was currently booster FMD vaccination going on at Bodibeng Extension area of Ngamiland following FMD cases reported at Semolo and Matseke crushes.

On why there have always been cases of reoccurrence of the disease in the Kareng area of Ngamiland, De Graff explained that it could be because the strain of disease in the area was stronger.

This was also confirmed by the Director of Veterinary Services, Philemon Motsu, who also said that they intended to use the new stronger vaccine recently introduced to the market by Botswana Vaccine Institute.

Motsu also said that the other reason for this could be that not all cattle were vaccinated at times, which he explained had recently seen them forced to revisit areas they have vaccinated for another round of vaccination.

On the total cost of fighting the disease in Zone 6 and 7, which are areas lying along the Zimbabwe border, De Graaff said that the costs stand at P200 million and that this includes the costs for restocking the areas where cattle had been sold to Zimbabwe or destroyed.

He also told the press conference that the sale of cattle to Zimbabwe was progressing well and that he hopes it will help in reducing population of cattle in Ngamiland, which is currently overstocked with over 100,000 cattle.

De Graaff also said that the Botswana Meat Commission, which was slaughtering, will also help the situation.

Oreeditse Molebatsi, De Graaff’s deputy, said that the prices Zimbabwe is offering are encouraging as cattle, which would in normal markets in the country fetch P1,500, were fetching up to P4000 and P5000.

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