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The government’s decision to depopulate cattle at zone 6b through slaughter at the Maun BMC abattoir has put pressure on the plant which now slaughter cattle beyond its capacity.
Following the outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) at zone 6b in the North East district in September last year, government took a decision to move a targeted population of 10 000 cattle for slaughter at the Maun BMC abattoir.
The depopulation covers villages from the North of Bisoli ranches namely, Jackalas 1, Ramokgwebana, Tsamaya, Tshesebe, Butale, Senyawe, Siviya and Mabudzane. This whole area have a cattle population of 19 000, 11 816 goats, 2 007 sheep and 8 44 pigs, all these being cloven-hoofed animals that carry and transmit FMD.
Maun BMC abattoir Ishmael Ramorula has revealed that owing to the decision, their work schedule has since changed from five to seven working days.
Ramorula told visiting Agriculture Fidelis that the most affected section of the plant is the pressurizing system, which has had to be fixed on a number of occasions.
“We also have an issue of water shortage, as we now have to pump more water than the usual amount and our boreholes tend to collapse due to the pressure,” Ramorula revealed.
The plant has so far slaughtered 3459 cattle from 6b, while slaughtering of the second batch will commence this weekend.
Meanwhile Ramorula has revealed that they have recorded a decline in supply of cattle from local farmers due to challenges in feeding livestock at the Makalamabedi cattle quarantine before slaughter. He added that farmers were also demoralised by late payments.
“Most farmers in Ngamiland sell their cattle only when they have emergencies and having to wait 14 days or more for payment as we sometimes exceed the agreed 14 days becomes a challenge to them,” Ramorula noted.
In an effort to cushion the situation, Ramorula noted that they are offering free transportation of cattle from the quarantine to the abattoir to reduce costs incurred by the farmers.
In response minister Molao indicated that his Ministry will commit to ensure that the plant runs undisrupted, adding the main aim of the slaughter arrangement was to eradicate FMD in zone 6b.
“The next phase of 6b slaughter and the next batch of Ngamiland cattle will seamlessly accommodate each other, at least in the next 40 to 45 days, with minimal to zero disruption of either processes,” Molao noted.