Sunday, September 20, 2020

Govt wants Ngamiland declared FMD free

Minister of Agriculture Christiaan de Graaf told a press conference on Wednesday that his ministry would make an application to the International Organisation of Animal Health to have Ngamiland declared a foot-and-mouth-free area.

This, he said, is because there have been no new out breaks in the area in the last six months, showing that the FMD situation has stabilized in the area.

Surveillance is currently continuing in the area, he said, adding that for the next round of vaccination scheduled to start soon, they will use stronger dosages of FMD medicine for vaccinating cattle in the area.

Ngamiland farmers are currently only able to sell their cattle to the less lucrative Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) in Maun. Butcheries have not been able to sell to the newly emerged lucrative markets of Angola and Zimbabwe.

Still on FMD, the Ministry of Agriculture has announced that they would restock the areas that were depopulated of cattle due to the outbreak of FMD in the 2012\ 2013 financial year. Some of the cattle were sold to Zimbabwe whilst others were destroyed.

On other issues, the Director of Animal Health, Phillimon Motsu, told the press conference that the exercise to improve livestock Identification and trace back system was progressing well around the country.

Dr Motsu said the exercise was aimed at moving from the old to the current version of the software application and supporting process. With some enhancements, this will bring the system in line with current technological achievements and improve capacity and efficiency of the system.

He said farmers would be able to monitor their cattle movement easily through his computer at the end of the exercise in April. He also explained that downloading and uploading of the system, currently done only in Gaborone, will be done in district head quarters such as Kanye and Mahalapye which will be cost effective and bring efficiency.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.