Wednesday, November 30, 2022

FMD compensation starts in two weeks

Compensation for farmers whose cattle were infected by Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Zones Six and Seven will be started in the next two weeks. This was said by FMD Coordinator and Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Moetapele Letshwenyo, at a press conference in Francistown on Friday.

Following the outbreak of the disease in April, government brokered a deal to sell the affected cattle which are in good condition for consumption to the Cold Storage Commission of Zimbabwe and then kill the remainder. To date 6 788 cattle have already been exported to Zimbabwe under the deal from the 12 457 that farmers have already surrendered to government.

Under the deal, government is expected to net about P14 million from Zimbabwe at a rate of US$300 per head.

 At least 45 000 cattle were diagnosed with the disease in Zone Six (North East District) and a further 2000 in Zone Seven (Bobirwa area).

Dr Letshwenyo, who has established a temporary office in Francistown for easy facilitation of the coordination of the eradication exercise, said they expect to have eradicated the disease in the affected areas by October and that if all goes according to schedule, the 30 percent restocking would commence around April/May 2012.

The coordinator said he was concerned with the recurrence of the outbreak, especially that there was another outbreak in the area in 2002/03. To this end, he asked the farmers to take responsibility and help government in curbing the spread of the disease to non-affected areas.
The two governments have also agreed to team up in the fight against the disease, which will see the vaccination of about 220 000 cattle in the Zimbabwe side from Plumtree to the Beitbridge area. The concerted efforts by the two governments are in recognition of the fact that Zimbabwe is the source of the outbreaks.

Letshwenyo described the outbreak as a disaster, adding that immediately the first cases were reported in the Matopi area in April, government had to act quickly to curb the spread of the disease to other areas, thereby depriving officials sufficient time to consult with the affected communities.

“We had to act quickly in the best interests of the country. The consultation process is ongoing although it has to be enhanced in light of the complaints raised by farmers,” said Letshwenyo.
In response to complaints that the compensation of P1 700 was not adequate, he said it should be borne in mind that the affected cattle have no value, adding that Botswana is the only country in the world which compensated farmers in the case of disease outbreaks.

He explained that in other countries cattle are insured and, as such, it is the insurances which cater for such compensation.

“We are very lucky that Zimbabwe decided to take the infected cattle which are in good condition for consumption,” said Letshwenyo.

That notwithstanding, Letshwenyo said other concerns raised by the affected farmers are being considered by government. The concerns include that some farmers feel the restocking and compensation ratio of 30 percent restocking and 70 percent cash compensation needs to be reviewed.
In a bid to curb the spread of the disease and further recurrences, he said a 10km buffer will be constructed along the Zimbabwe border.

Although government has decided to vaccinate the cattle in Zone Seven, he noted that farmers in the areas have not been selling their cattle to the abattoir in the last five years. Cattle in Zone Seven will not be killed and will instead be vaccinated with a purified vaccine (DVI)

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