Farmers in the Ngamiland area whose livestock is killed in a bid to control the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) will have to live with the little that government gives them as there are no plans to increase the compensation.
The Ministry of Agriculture argued that increasing the amount could encourage pastoralists to let their cattle stray into red zones knowing that they will in the end be killed and they will be rewarded.
“Increasing the amount in our view will just encourage farmers to drive their cattle into the areas we do not want them to go into for example The Okavango swamps,” said Principal Public Relations Officer at the ministry.
The cattle owners are given P400, 00 per head under the controversial Livestock Disease Act.
Farmers on the other hand belief it is high time the compensation is increased as it has been passed by the times.
Ngamiland Integrated Farmers Association Chairman, Simon Bojosi, complained that the amount is too little and that the complaint has been raised by several farmers whose cattle were recently killed in areas around the Okavango swamps where about 35 cattle which had strayed into the swamps had been killed.
Bojosi further said that it was worrying that the law was harshly treating the farmers as though they were driving their cattle into the swamps intentionally when the fact is that they were straying into the swamps in search of better grazing areas.
“It is not purely the farmers’ fault that their cattle are straying into the swamps it is because of the current drought and lack of grazing land in the grazing lands,” he lamented. MOA is against cattle straying into the swamps on grounds that they are likely to transmit Foot and Mouth Disease into cattle on their return from the swamps where they would have likely mixed with buffaloes which are known carriers of foot and mouth disease.