The Ministry of Agriculture on Monday moved swiftly to denounce weekend’s media reports that the ban relating to beef and other meat products into and out of the Zone 11 area has been lifted.
On Friday, a communiqu├® bearing the logo of the Agriculture Ministry was circulated in various media houses and social media announcing that the slaughter of livestock for local consumption has been given the green light. However officials at the Ministry of Agriculture on Monday labeled the correspondence as “hoax”.
“The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) has reminded members of the public that movement protocol restrictions imposed on April 12 2016 in Zone 11 remain in force. Movement of cloven hoofed animals remains restricted in Zone 11/anyone violating Zone 11 animal movement restrictions will be prosecuted,” read part of the Monday statement.
The sighting of a buffalo in the Zone 11 area early last week necessitated the imposition of movement standstill in the zone. Following the incursion, the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) banned the movement of cloven-hoofed animals and their products in, out and within Zone 11 to avert a possible outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). The ministry says it is still waiting for results on whether the buffalo could have spread the Foot and Mouth Disease to cattle in the affected zone.
Meanwhile the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) in Lobatse has been closed indefinitely pending the assessment of the incursion. On Friday the commission confirmed that the Lobatse plant, which is the sole exporter of local beef, has been closed in compliance with the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS).
BMC Head of Public Relations Brian Dioka said the BMC Lobatse plant was also closed to safe-guard its reputation as a regional quality beef-exporter, since it is the only British Retail Consortium (BRC) A-graded facility in Africa exporting to the lucrative European Market.
Dioka said its beef stock from the Lobatse plant dating April 11th going backwards has been permitted for exportation indefinitely. He also added that the latest developments subsequent to the imposition of the movement ban in Zone 11, the slaughter of livestock for social consumption is now allowed.