Residents Want Government to Step Up FMD Fight

| April 29, 2015

Ngamiland residents have pleaded with the government to engage private companies to maintain the buffalo fence in order to assist in the fight against Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the district.

They made the plea during a kgotla meeting addressed by the portfolio committee on agriculture, lands and housing recently. The purpose of the meeting was to get first-hand information on the recent outbreak of FMD in the district and to appreciate government interventions and address farmers affected.

Residents complained that government was failing to eradicate FMD because of the poor maintenance of buffalo fences and border fences. They said the dilapidated fences encouraged the free movement of cattle and buffaloes.

They also noted that the maintenance of the buffalo fence posed challenges to the Department of Veterinary Services due to shortage of resources. Residents said despite efforts to maintain part of the fence, elephants continued to damage it hence frustrating efforts made.

They also noted that the fence had taken more than five years without maintenance. They said a private company would do a better job as it would be monitored and supervised.

“Today our cattle are being killed because they cross the dilapidated fence to the delta,” they added. The community also requested that the time for vaccination per ranch be extended.

They noted that veterinary officers were given three days to vaccinate, and that it resulted in many farmers not bringing their cattle for vaccination.

One of the residents, Mr Mokwadi Kebiditswe suggested that the days be extended to five days to ensure successful vaccination. Kgosi Rogers Marumo said the disease has impoverished the community because of a lack of market to sell their cattle.

He urged the government to look for alternative methods to deal with FMD. He suggested that the disease should be treated where it had been detected, and that it should not affect the entire zone as has been the case.

Kgosi Marumo also said since veterinary officers know the number of cattle per ranch, they should ensure that all were vaccinated to control the spread of FMD. Mr Loago Bambo complained that the government was not doing enough to control and curb the spread of FMD in the district. He said the government instead accuses farmers of failing to vaccinate their cattle.

He said the issue of overtime and subsistence allowance for officers on vaccination campaigns should be re-visited as it acts as a stumbling block for officers to vaccinate all cattle within a given time.

Mr Bambo noted that the district has a high cattle population, adding that one farmer rears more than 100 cattle and that officers could not finish vaccination in three days.

For his part, the leader of the portfolio committee, Mr Sethomo Lelatisitswe, who is also the Member of Parliament for Boteti East, appreciated the community’s concerns and ideas and assured them that they would compile a report and see how best they could aise the government.

He said prior to the meeting they toured the buffalo fence, addressed farmers associations and visited Kareng where the recent outbreak originated to appreciate the situation.

Mr Lelatisitswe said FMD had negatively affected the economy hence the need for the government to come up with interventions to curb the disease and reduce the burden on communities.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Medical/Health Care

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