Government through the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) is working on a plan to allow complying cattle ranches in Ngamiland to sell their cattle to the lucrative markets such as Kuwait, DRC, and Mozambique without necessarily having to quarantine.
The district’s Principal Veterinary Officer, Dr Odireleng Thololwane revealed that the registered ranches that comply with the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) standards set by World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) and the Department of Veterinary Services will be allowed to export their cattle to certain markets. He explained that this move is meant to reduce the congestion at the government quarantines and to encourage cattle farmers to make their ranches compliant.
Speaking at the North West Famers Association meeting held in Maun recently, Haina Veld Farmers Association Secretary, Moalosi Sebati asked Thololwane to explain why the private abattoirs do not have to quarantine their cattle to sell to lucrative markets though they buy from local farmers who on the other hand are required to quarantine their cattle by the Department of Veterinary Services.
Haina Veld Farmers Association rancher Jack Ramsden also sought clarity on why complying ranches are not allowed to sell their cattle to lucrative markets noting that this could reduce congestion in government quarantines.
In response Thololwane added that through the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) compartment, some zones in Ngamiland will be allowed to sell their cattle to lucrative markets without having to go thorough quarantine when declared a green zone as is the case in other zones.
Thololwane stated that government intends to turn some of the zones in Ngamiland into green zones taking into consideration the risks of FMD in those zones. He stressed that the department is currently conducting the risk analysis in order to determine which zones can be declared as green.
He noted that after conclusion of the analysis, high risk zones will continue to be vaccinated while the cattle that are in lower risk areas will no longer be vaccinated. Thololwane said that upon completion of the risk analysis they will get into another stage of compliance process.
Between the months of October and November this year, a European Union audit will assess Ngamiland region’s compliance with the prevention of FMD.
Thololwane has since urged the farmers to work hand in hand with the Department in order to make this development a success. He also urged the farmers to use the Botswana Animal Information and Traceability System (BAITS) which is a tagging system that trace cattle from birth to slaughter.