The Ministry of Agriculture is doing all its best to combat the Foot and Mouth disease within the recently restocked areas of the North East District, hindered by the trans-boundary nature of the disease.
Worse still the high rate of illegal cross border movement of both the people and livestock could not save the situation, rendering the task seem impossible to achieve.
“It is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of re-introduction of infection into the restocked areas of Zone 6 and other areas. The presence of elephants in the area, which damage cordon fences does not help the situation either,” admitted the Assistant Minister Agriculture Oreeditse Molebatsi.
A pandemic hitherto attributed to the North West District because of abundant wildlife in the area, Foot and Mouth in recent years has descended the North East District.
The incursion has threatened the beef industry, seconding the diamond sector as the country’s largest exporting earner.
“We try by all means to keep the disease at bay but the marauding elephants destroy the fence. We try to repair the fence but within some days the fence is destroyed by the animals,” Molebatsi added on Monday.
In addition the government has intensified patrols and maintenance of the fence in the District.
But financial constraints have also added to the problem.
That notwithstanding, the Ministry has an establishment of protection in zone 6 in which surveillance for the disease is intensified to ensure early detection of infection.
The move is expected to facilitate quick response before disease is spread.
Besides embarking on joint operations with Zimbabwe security authorities to reduce border crime, the government has also mounted joint operations with Zimbabwe Veterinary authorities to control the disease.
“For example joint vaccinations of cattle along the common border and cooperation in disease surveillance,” Molebatsi said.
He was answering a question from Gaborone Central Member of Parliament Dumelang Saleshando.