Mitigation efforts against Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) are effective hence the coutry being able to export beef to the lucrative European market, says the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Christian De Graaff.
He said Botswana was one of only three countries in Africa that still had access to the EU market, which meant that strategies in place had not failed the country. Mr De Graaff said some of the outbreaks were spill overs from neighbouring countries because of economic situations that prevailed in them.
He said as a member of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Botswana used standards set by the 180-member organisation. He said whenever there was an outbreak, the first thing they did was to impose restrictions on movement to ensure the disease did not spread, and at the same time vaccinating the animals.
He called upon MPs from FMD affected areas to consult with farmers in their areas and encourage them to participate in vaccine campaigns.
The minister said in some areas such as Chobe, they had been able to vaccinate all the animals unlike in Ngamiland where the overflowing Okavango and Lake Ngami made it difficult as animals roam freely.
Minister De Graaff said they had also come up with protection zones hence they had decided to fence one-third of Ngamiland, Zone 2d or the Hynaveldt farms into what would become the protection zone.
He said following the vaccination of the cattle in the area, there had not been any outbreak and that they would soon apply to the OIE to make it recognised as a green zone.
The minister said he was aware that the Ngamiland area, with a capacity of 300 000 was now overstocked with 450 000 cattle.
He said they were optimistic that they would be able to sell cattle from the protected zone to the lucrative European market.
The minister said Botswana was the only country that sold cattle from the free range zone to the European market.
He said Botswana enjoyed a long period without any outbreaks as there were no outbreaks between 1980 and 2002.
He said they have decided to embark on finding a market for beef in the Ngamiland region, and that Zambia and Mozambique had agreed to purchase beef from the area.
Okavango MP Mr Bagalatia Arone had asked the minister to brief parliament on strategies in place aimed at addressing the foot and mouth situation in Ngamiland and other areas such as Zone 6 and 7.
Source : BOPA
Source : Botswana Daily News