GOVERNMENT has banned the movement of cattle for grazing, fattening, marketing and breeding purposes to contain foot-and- mouth disease (FMD) and cut on vaccination costs, a senior Government official has revealed.
Only cattle going straight for slaughter will be permitted to move from one district to another.
The new measure will see farmers establishing feedlots and marketing the livestock in their areas.
Initially, farmers used to transport their cattle to abattoirs for sale but now the abattoir operators will have to go to the farming areas to buy cattle and fatten them there.
FMD had by February spread to six districts, a situation which saw the country receiving assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the European Union (EU).
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister responsible for Livestock Paddy Zhanda said the ban in cattle movement would reduce costs as the “vaccines are not for free”.
“Vaccinations are not for free; they cost us money and we buy them from a Botswana vaccine factory. We do not want to rely on vaccinating cattle as a way of controlling FMD. We also do not want to centralise the marketing of cattle, which will then make it possible for the spread of the disease.
Deputy Minister Zhanda said once auctioning of cattle and the establishment of feedlots was done at a place where the cattle are being produced, small-scale farmers will not have to bear the cost of transporting cattle all the way to the market and if they are not sold, transport them back again resulting in the spread of FMD.
“These are the new measures that we are putting in place to make sure we restrict the movement of cattle from one district to another and make sure that the auctioning and fattening of cattle is done there.
“We have since established that centralisation of cattle marketing is not for the benefit of the small-scale farmers but it is for the benefit of those established auctioning companies. Abattoirs want cattle to come to them, and not them to go and look for cattle where they are.
“Unfortunately, we are not going to do that. We want to decentralise the marketing, auctioning and fattening of cattle to where the production is taking place,” he said.
He said the efforts being put in place by Government to reduce the spread of FMD were also in line with international organisations.
“Even our negotiations with the International Animal Health at the moment, recognises that we have to make sure that we quarantine and fatten the cattle where they are. If they are there for 45 days, they can even be certified to be exported because we would have widened and made sure that there is no diseases outbreak,” he said. herald