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Ministry to carry out FMD inspection on smallstock

16 Apr 2023

The Ministry of Agriculture is scheduled to carry out further inspections on small stock and other susceptible animals after depopulation of cattle in the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) affected location in some parts of 6B zone.

Agriculture minister, Mr Fidelis Molao said this in a statement he delivered in Parliament recently, on the ongoing eradication of FMD in some localities in the North East region.

Minister Molao explained that inspection would be done to ensure that animals remained free of FMD and did not transmit the disease to cattle when restocking commenced. He added that the minimum waiting period before restocking was three months after removal of the last cattle in the containment zone.

He said restocking would commence after cattle depopulation was completed and zone 6b was declared FMD free by World Organisation on Animal Health (WOAH).

The decision, he said, would depend on the outcome of disease surveillance in the remaining livestock including sheep, goats and pigs as well as wildlife.

“Restocking cattle will be purchased mostly in the areas surrounding zone 6b. This will in addition to quickening the restocking process, will also ensure better survival of the cattle as they would already have herd immunity to prevailing local diseases particularly tick-borne diseases,” he said.

He added that only ready to breed heifers and primipara cattle (first calvers) would be purchased at a rate of P5 000 per beast.

“Purchase of restocking heifers and cows will commence shortly and cattle will be held at government quarantines at Sese, Sefhophe and other government camps where eligible ones will be artificially inseminated,” he said.

Despite the difficulties presented by the FMD outbreak, Mr Molao said the ministry appreciated cooperation by farmers and the affected communities.

“The teamwork has without doubt contributed to the effective campaign of containing the disease and is expected to yield positive outcome,” he said. Further, he said in order to prevent recurrence of the disease, some measures were in place, including additional funding that would be provided during the financial year towards prevention of spill-over of FMD from neighbouring countries.

He indicated that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) had been signed with the government of Zimbabwe to cooperate on matters of agriculture and food security which included joint control of animal diseases and combatting of livestock rustling.

He said other measures included enforcement of the law to intensify identification of animals, branding them with zonal brands, registration of kraals and cattle posts in order to improve animal traceability and control of animal diseases, as well as sensitising farmers about their obligations.

Meanwhile, Mr Molao told Parliament that since August 22 last year, the date when the veterinary services director was notified of a suspected FMD case at Butale crush in Tsamaya extension area, the disease surveillance demonstrated that only villages within zone 6b north of Bisoli siding were affected including Mabudzane, Jackalas 2, Siviya, Senyawe, Butale, Tsamaya, Mowana, Tshesebe, Jackalas 1 and Ramokgwebana.

“Villages south of Bisoli siding (Sikukwe, Matshelagabedi and Matsiloje and Matopi) were not affected,” he said.
The minister also indicated that vehicles and staff were mobilised to the infected area to implement biosecurity measures including disinfection, intensifying inspections at checkpoints.

He added that security agencies such as the police and the army also assisted in boundary patrols and enforcement of the law.

“Another critical step to control and contain the disease was through vaccinating all the cattle in this area, which process has proved to be a success and adding credence to the ability of our own locally produced vaccines,” he said. He added that the ministry had also embarked on rehabilitation of the Botswana/Zimbabwe border cordon fence from Magwape to Dikgatlhong. He said 145km of the 230km was repaired and 120km graded.

Additionally, he said the cordon fence separating zone 6b from the adjoining zone 3c, 6a and 7 were also rehabilitated.  “The ministry has embarked on an initiative to strengthen the border fence by installing high tensile strength cable. So far the cable has been installed in the Mabolwe - Lenyetse, Mabolwe - Tuli and Gwanyo - Makhurana sections of the fence,” he said. Again, he said the community was also sensitised through kgotla meetings in which communities also expressed their concerns, views and gave advice to the ministry.

He said the government opted for the strategy of eradicating FMD by establishing a containment zone and depopulating all cattle in the containment zone.

“Depopulation was preferred in favour of vaccination because of the inherent advantages including reduced risk of disease spilling to other areas, rapid recovery of the FMD free status for the zone, and free status of the southern part of zone 6b (Matshelagabedi, Matsiloje, Matopi) not affected by the outbreak could be recovered quickly,” he said.

Following consultation with farmers, Mr Molao said, government set the cash compensation of cattle at P3 000 per beast irrespective of age or sex with the farmer getting the first 10 cattle in kind and the balance being paid at ratio of 30 per cent cattle and 70 per cent cash.

Furthermore, he said government took a decision to have farmers paid the proceeds after their cattle had been slaughtered at the Maun BMC and the meat sold.

He said surveillance had since demonstrated that the outbreak did not spread to the southern parts of zone 6b, now called zone 6b Bisoli south, and other parts of the country. “Surveillance has also demonstrated that small-stock, pigs were not affected by the outbreak,” he added.

As a result, he WOAH approved the Botswana application for the recognition of the zone 6b Bisoli North containment zone in January this year.

“This means that farmers in the southern part of zone 6b which include Matshelagabedi, Matsiloje and Matopi, can now trade with their livestock subject to the health restrictions and conditions from director of veterinary services,” he said. Consequently, he said movement protocol had been reviewed, as such livestock products including meat, milk and others, could  now move from zone 6b Bisoli South (Matshelagabedi, Matsiloje, Matopi villages) to other parts of the country without a permit.

“Additionally, live animals (cattle, sheep, goats and pigs) may be moved out of zone 6b Bisoli South with permit for direct slaughter only,” he said. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Moshe Galeragwe

Location : GABORONE


Date : 16 Apr 2023