Gaborone — Mmadinare and Bobirwa area, designated disease control Zone 7, has been declared Foot and Mouth (FMD) free without vaccination.
Apprising the media on his recent trip to France and Israel on Monday, Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security Mr Fidelis Molao said the last FMD outbreak in the area was in 2011 and was eradicated through removal of all the sick and affected cattle followed by vaccination of the remaining animals over a two-year period.
"Once an area was afflicted by FMD, it had devastating effects on the beef industry and mainly the producers hence we are excited that we passed the assessment," said Mr Molao.
Mr Molao said the FMD free status in Botswana had been approved for zones 3b, 3c, 4a, 4b, 5, 6a, 6b, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13.
Further, he said, the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) general assembly had approved the Contagious Bovine Pleuropeuminia-CBPP and the Peste Petit de Ruminantes (PPR) freedom status without vaccination in Botswana.
This, he said, was a huge milestone for the country, which needed to be celebrated.
In addition, it gave Botswana's trading partners a lot of confidence in disease control initiatives, he said.
Mr Molao thanked Batswana for their support and cooperation with regard to disease control operations carried out by the ministry.
On other beef industry related issues, Mr Molao said in an effort to mitigate the effects of drought, Botswana Meat Commission would increase the price of carcasses by P3 across all grades. The carcass price increase is an addition to the recently announced 35 per cent subsidy on feeds, he said.
He called on farmers to sell more cattle to the commission, saying by so doing they would be reducing the risks of losing livestock to the drought.
Mr Molao said the 87th OIE general assembly was attended by 120 veterinary services officials and other delegates from around the world. The OIE, he explained, was a world standards setting body for animal and public health and animal welfare in collaboration with FAO and WHO on food safety.
He said all disease situations were reported to OIE by the 182 member countries, which the organisation then published for use by trading partners. Mr Molao said while in Israel, he met with the management of universities and research institutions, which were collaborating with Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) adding that he also interacted with some 35 students on attachment in Israel.
The project seemed to be a huge success with the students looking forward to completing their studies and starting their own projects back home, he said. Mr Molao said he also met with the management of Tinneret Technical College as well as the Agricultural Research Organisation to further discuss more areas of collaboration, which would be followed up by BUAN.
The minister underscored the ministry's excitement at the lifting of the hunting ban because farmers bore the scars of the destruction of the animal disease control fences and crops by elephants as well as FMD outbreaks.
He said the long term effect of lifting the ban was the driving of elephants back into their natural habit, control of their numbers while agricultural fences would be spared the constant destruction and people's fields and crops would be saved. Ultimately the agricultural sector would begin to stand up on its feet again and contribute to wealth creation and jobs for Batswana, Mr Molao said.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>