Sunday, June 23, 2024

Gov’t to auction over 1000 zone 6b calves to compensate farmers 

The government has taken a decision to auction atleast 1100 calves whose cattle were detected with foot and mouth (FMD) disease in the Zone 6B area last year.

Farmers in the area recently engaged government over delayed compensation for the cattle that were killed.

Minister of Agriculture Fidelis Molao said a decision to dispose of the calves to Chobe farmers was taken after thorough consultation.

He further said in the past, government policy has always been that when cattle have contracted FMD they are killed inclusive of their calves.

“Government has so far used a lot of money to care for these calves because there was need for consultation first to see whether we can make use of these calves. You will understand that for zone 6B area to be declared FMD free, all cattle should be wiped out and thereafter sanction an assessment on the area so that once it passes we can restock it,” said Molao.

Molao added that only two districts being Chobe and Nhabe were eligible to receive the calves given that these are red zones where FMD is controlled through vaccination.

“We had to gauge the two districts and ultimately we chose Chobe because of their commendable vaccination drive. It has come to our attention that every single time there is a vaccination drive, farmers and village leadership ensure that all cattle are vaccinated. We thought that it is only right that we offer this opportunity to Chobe farmers through an auction and I am also pleased because both farmers and the village leadership do understand that there is no risk in auctioning the calves to the farmers in the area,” he said.

The Minister assured both farmers and village leadership that veterinary checks have been completed to ensure compliance.

Meanwhile, Zone6B Concerned Farmers Association Chairman Pius Malikongwa said even though government has continued to pay farmers in the area the process.

“Government is continuing to pay farmers their compensation and we can only wish that perhaps they could speed up the process to emancipate farmers from financial struggles,” he said.

He stated that the FMD came as a learning curve to farmers in the area.

“I want to believe that farmers have learnt something from this because we cannot allow such kind of outbreaks to always crop out and disturb our farming,” said Malikongwa.

He cited that once the depopulation exercise has been completed they will await a green zone certification adding that it is their hope that they will sell their cattle to the European Union markets.

“I want to believe that all farmers want to sell to lucrative markets and they can only achieve that if we work together by ensuring that we do not allow foot and mouth outbreaks in the area,” stated Malikongwa.

On the other hand, Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) recently said they had completed the slaughtering of 7 564 cattle from the zone 6b and preparing to pay farmers in the area.

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