12 September 2017

Botswana: Nata/Gweta FMD Free Zone

Xwuxwakham — Zone 3B in areas of Nata/Gweta constituency has been declared free of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

The announcement was made by Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security Mr Patrick Ralotsia at a field day recently for Nata/Gweta Block Beef Producers Association in Xwuxwakham.

Minister Ralotsia explained that in May this year, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) granted Zone 3B, FMD free status without vaccination. This, he said was a welcome development to both farmers and government. He appealed to farmers to ensure that the status was maintain.

"I urge you to jealously guard and maintain this status," he emphasised.

He implored them to report any damages to the cordon fences and any incursion of buffalos or vaccinated cattle to the department of veterinary services (DVS) for quick response. The minister further said that now that their zone was recognised as FMD free without vaccination, it therefore meant that their area was eligible to export to more lucrative markets.

Minister said his ministry through Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) would negotiate with various trading partners to facilitate market for their beef to more lucrative markets including the European Union.

He thus implored them to improve management practices in their farms with good record keeping, individual animal identification and control of measles which he said was a threat to the beef industry. Minister Ralotsia further said according to BMC reports of all the cattle they slaughter, over 10 per cent had measles.

Minister Ralotsia said the commission spend in excess of P30 million annually to sustain the plant adding that the Francistown plant needed 380 cattle per day and to date the highest record had been 116 while most of the days the abattoir kill less than 100.

He therefore said with their Zone having been upgraded he urged them to take their cattle to BMC to sustain the plant.

Appreciating the announcement, the Member of Parliament for Nata/Gweta Mr Polson Majaga appealed to farmers to protect the status and ensure that the cordon fences were well maintained. He urged farmers to take their cattle to BMC and help in sustaining it.

Source : BOPA

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