Government is reportedly constructing a 350 km fence in Ngamiland in a bid to separate foot and mouth prone areas from the rest of the district. This is according to Public Relations Officer (PRO) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Keabetswe Molebatsi. He revealed that the fence, which is expected to cost millions of Pula, will reduce the size of the FMD infected zone into a small and manageable area, increase the herd of cattle that are eligible for exports to the European Union market and protect FMD free areas from the infected ones.
Molebatsi revealed that the project is faced with a number of challenges, chief amongst them destruction of the fence by elephants.
“We also have problems of vandalism and budgetary constraints,” he said.
To deal with such problems, Molebatsi said they have increased fence patrols, set up camps for fence maintenance and are considering using non lethal methods to control the movement of elephant’s way from the fence. On complaints raised by some farmers on communal lands that the fence, which has completely fenced off Haina Veldt farms, has taken away their grazing lands, Molebatsi said that this cannot be true because the cordon fence runs 20 km parallel to the existing Haina Veldt farms boundary.
Communal farmers fear that as there has been little rainfall this past year, their cattle are going to die in large numbers as the fence has allegedly cut off a huge chunk of their grazing land. Ngamiland has been hard hit by frequent out breaks of foot and mouth, and farmers in the district blame this on elephants which destroy cordon fences and give way to buffaloes which then cross into grazing lands and spread foot and mouth amongst their cattle. Government is reported to be spending millions of Pula annually in the fight against foot and mouth.