The Director of Veterinary Services, Dr Philimon Kgosietsile Motsu, says that communal area type of farming makes it difficult for them to insert as many cattle as they would have liked to do with bolus, which helps in the identification of cattle.
Motsu told Sunday Standard that farmers in communal areas at times do not even know where their cattle are when required to present them for bolus insertion as they roam freely in the bush.
He said this makes it difficult for them to plan and forecast and that in the overall, as a result, the number of cattle inserted with bolus is higher in farms than in communal areas.
On why cattle should be inserted, the Director of Veterinary Services said that it is important as it makes it easier to have cattle movement traceable throughout their lives for disease control purposes , beef market security and that it also minimises stock theft.
The EU, which is Botswana’s largest beef market requires traceability of cattle to reduce disease risk and food residues, such as hormones.
However, Motsu said that farmers are now beginning to cooperate and are bringing their cattle forward for bolus insertion as they have realized the benefits of doing so.
He said that cattle in Ngamiland and Chobe are currently not inserted with bolus as they are in a red zone area, which has been affected by the outbreak of foot and mouth disease and the meat from the areas is not sold to EU countries that are strict on identification of cattle.
The issue of inadequate cattle identification recently led to misunderstanding and finally the closing of the Botswana Meat Commission abattoir in Lobatse.
The abattoir remains closed as of now.