Botswana: Quarantine Vital in Securing Markets

Sehithwa — Quarantining Ngamiland cattle before slaughter will improve marketability of their beef locally and internationally, according to Dr Kefentse Motshegwa.

Dr Motshegwa, who is a Deputy Director in the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS), said this in response to concerns from farmers during a kgotla meeting addressed by the Assistant Minister for Agricultural Development and Food Security, Mr Konstantinos Markus on June 10.

He said measures need to be put in place to address the issue of markets for Ngamiland cattle, since the district has been classified as a red zone, due to Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreaks. Dr Motshegwa said there will be a quarantine at Makalamabedi village to serve the district.

DVS, he said continued its efforts to identify markets for Ngamiland cattle farmers, saying for example, some cattle were sold to Mozambique and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) last year.

He said the department was currently in talks with one University in the United States of America, which has interest in beef from the Ngamiland region. Dr Motshegwa said the department has since established an FMD Research Unit in Maun, which currently has an acting officer, to strengthen FMD interventions.

The Research Unit, he said will study FMD and human behaviour contribution.

Some residents of Sehithwa were of the view that quarantines were outdated, with one Mr Gaetime Bikitshane arguing that quarantines were not necessary in this age.

Mr Bikitshane said cattle farmers were grappling with challenges of lack of markets and money while they were expected to engage caretakers during quarantine.

An official from the Department of Veterinary Services in Maun, Dr Odirile Thololwane observed that quarantines helped to reduce infections, therefore making it possible for the beef to traverse non-FMD zones and international markets.

He said the cattle were quarantined for a month and given regular injections to improve quality of the beef.

Dr Thololwane also said the DVS was in talks with hotels and lodges in the district to buy beef from the area.

Source : BOPA

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