The Member of Parliament for Chobe, Gibson Nshimwe, says that the government is not willing to help cattle farmers in the district who want to access foreign markets for their cattle the same way it is assisting farmers in other districts of the country.
He charged that this is because the government wants Chobe to be a wildlife area.
Speaking to The Sunday Standard after the Minister of Agriculture had admitted in Parliament that “it is extremely difficult to market beef, let alone live cattle from FMD prone areas, such as Chobe, and that no market has been secured for cattle or beef originating from Chobe District but the Ministry is still exploring possible markets for beef from the district”.
DeGraaff said this after Nshimwe had asked the Minister to tell Parliament what interventions they had made to find markets for Chobe cattle farmers in neighboring countries, such as Angola, DR Congo, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, since Chobe was declared a red zone area because of FMD.
He said that if the government was serious about the issue, it could have long learnt and considered fencing off some areas, such as Ikobongo, Huhua and Mabuzu, where he said are hardly any wild animals.
“Residents of those areas will tell you they hardly see any wild animals in those areas and my feeling is that those areas should be fenced off to give farmers access to foreign markets,” he said.
He pointed out the government’s reluctance to do that is borne by the fact that it will prove the government wrong in her assessment that separation of buffaloes and cattle in the district is virtually impossible as fencing is not environmentally feasible in the area.