Sunday, October 25, 2020

Govt introduces Ngamiland FMD Stakeholder forum

The Ministry of Agriculture has introduced the Ngamiland Foot and Mouth Disease Stakeholder Forum as the pandemic continues to give farmers and government alike sleepless nights in the area.
Sporadic outbreaks of the cattle disease caused by the interaction between the domestic animals and wildlife particularly buffaloes have even threatened the livelihood of Baherero farmers.
They have since been intimidated into vacating the area back to their other ancestral lands in the neighbouring Namibia owing to the prohibition of meat products to the lucrative markets in the European Union.
Farmers are obliged to sell locally at a depressing price due to the FMD which has even found ways into the areas hitherto unknown of the disease such as the North East District.
“I wish to take advantage of this moment to inform this House of the existence of Ngamiland Foot and Mouth Stakeholder Forum,” said the Assistant Minister of Agriculture Oreeditse Molebatsi.
Molebatsi made the revelation after informing parliament the status of the disease in the Ngamiland District on Thursday whose cattle usually cross into the zone 16, abundant with wildlife.
Chaired by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, the Forum includes a wide spectrum of stakeholders including farmers, farmer’s associations, various government departments and Non-Government Organisations.
“The forum will meet every six months specifically to address the FMD problem in Ngamiland. The forum provides a platform for farmers and stakeholders to contribute to the management of FMD in the region,” Molebatsi added.
With Ngamiland District in proximity to Okavango delta and Moremi Game Reserve, farmer’s cattle usually cross into zone 16 contacting the disease.
The Beef industry is main source of the country’s Gross Domestic Product after the mining sector in particular the diamond industry.
The sector however is threatened by the spontaneous outbreak of the disease, leaving farmers without hope and government attempting other means to save the industry.

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