P3m for compensation restocking

20 Mar 2023

 Government will use over P2 million to compensate all farmers whose cattle are earmarked for slaughter as part of the Foot and Mouth (FMD) eradication exercise in Zone  6b. 

   A further P1 million will be used for restocking.

 This was revealed by the Department of Veterinary Services acting deputy director Dr Bernard Mbeha when briefing Minister of Agriculture Mr Fidelis Molao in Butale recently.

   He said a total of P570 000 had been paid out as part of compensation to some 271 farmers.

Dr Mbeha said since commencement of the exercise in February, 2 312 cattle had already been collected out of which 1 700 had been slaughtered at the Maun abattoir as of last week.

He explained that the exercise was expected to be completed by end of June adding that the ministry was satisfied with the high number of animals tagged which would facilitate speedy processing of compensation.

Arrangements had been made to make payment through PULA card, he said.

 Thanking farmers for the overwhelming support they showed for the disease eradication exercise, he however said many failed to identify their cattle thereby slowing down the slaughtering process.

  Commenting, Minister Molao said slaughtering of Zone 6b cattle coincided with that  of quarantined cattle in Ngamiland which would cause delays.

That would also delay the eradication process and subsequent restocking as well as result in cost overruns, said the minister.

He said restocking would commence after the zone had been declared officially FMD free.

Mr Molao said government would announce the programme for purchasing restocking cattle saying quality breeds would be purchased locally to ensure adaptability and resistance to local disease conditions.

  He appealed to farmers to guard against another FMD outbreak by ensuring the border fence between Botswana and Zimbabwe was guarded. 

  The department’s director, Dr Kekgonegile Motshegwe said even though there were no signs of FMD in the zone,  farmers should exercise caution as scientifically the virus still existed and could spread to non-infected areas.

He said management of the disease included gazetting Zone 6b a containment area.

The fact that the virus was found only in cattle and not in other hoofed animals such as pigs and goats lessened the burden for the department, Dr Motshegwe said.

He explained that surveillance in goats and pigs would continue until the area was declared FMD free.

Dr Motshegwe informed the minister that there were too many calves weighing below 200kg which meant additional costs of feeding them.

Outright killing and burying would be the cheaper option, he said. Initially, government had set  compensation at P2 840 per beast but later increased it to P3 000 after farmers complained.

In addition, the bulk of the proceeds accrued from the sale of the meat will be given to farmers while government will only retain money used to transport cattle from the affected areas to the abattoir.

Meanwhile the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) is impressed with  progress made by government in FMD containment.

 WOAH has also appreciated payment of compensation to farmers whose animals were targeted for slaughter in efforts to eradicate the disease.  ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Thamani Shabani

Location : BUTALE

Event : Meeting

Date : 20 Mar 2023