Thursday, October 28, 2021

Gov’t claims lifting of ban on meat products in Boteti … farmers say otherwise

Confusion reigns in Boteti following the government’s move to suspend the movement of cloven-hoofed animals and their products into, out and within 4A Zone following the reported incursions by Buffaloes in Boteti. 

The suspension comes after farmers reported the sightings of buffaloes in 4A Zone which is comprised of villages such as Makalamabedi, Motopi, Khumaga, Rakops, Mmadikola, Mopipi and Mokobaxhane. 

The incursions were blamed on veterinary fences that are continually damaged by elephants in the area. 

Farmers are fuming that the ministry claims that it has lifted the temporary suspension that came to effect in January though it still stands.

The move to suspend the movement of cloven-hooved animals and products has resulted in farmers in 4A Zone without any alternative market for almost two months. 

Veterinary Department Director Letsogile Modisa indicated this week that the department lifted the suspension that farmers in Boteti claim they are not aware of. 

He indicated that the suspension was temporary following the reported buffalo sightings in 4A zone.

Modisa indicated that following the reports the department dispatched a team of veterinary officers to cattle posts near Rakops where the buffaloes were spotted.

“We were able to search the area but no buffaloes were found in the area,” said Modisa.

Modisa stated that the suspension came into effect while the search continued as they feared that the incursions could spell doom for livestock farmers since buffaloes are Foot and Mouth Disease carriers.

Modisa believes farmers could have mistaken cow hooves tracks for buffalo tracks.  

Engleton Abbatoir Manager, Enny Engleton, was surprised about Modisa’s claims that the suspension has been lifted. 

She indicated that the veterinary service wrote a letter advising them that they had suspended the movement of cloven-hooved animals and their products into, out and within 4A Zone. 

“We are surprised that despite his claims the suspension remains in effect here. Since the suspension they have never written to inform us that it has been lifted,” added Engleton.

She said that they even had a meeting last week with veterinary officers in Rakops who informed them that the suspension remains in effect while they were still searching for buffaloes.

Engleton said that they continued to lose business as result of the suspension while Modisa claims it has been lifted. 

The area was declared a green zone two years back and farmers were able to sell to the European Union market.

The zone was later stopped following the assessment that found that most of the veterinary fences in 4A zone were damaged. 

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