Govt to lift ban on livestock movement

By Staff Reporter 

 Ministry of Agriculture , Water and Forestry will lift the ban on movement of farm animals in the Zambezi region on February 17, 2014 if no new cases of FMD and Anthrax  are detected.

Quarantined Livestock at Katima Crush pan
Quarantined Livestock at Katima Crush pan

 This was confirmed by Dr. Johannes Shoopala, Acting Chief Veterinary Officer in the Directorate of Veterinary Services that disease surveillance was intensified in the entire region and a total of 47 cases were detected.

The last clinical cases of Foot and Mouth Disease ( FMD) were detected on 17th August 2013. “If no new cases are detected from now onwards        restrictions will be lifted on 17th February 2014,  that, 6 months from the date of last case of disease.” Said Dr. Shoopala.

Dr. Shoopala told Caprivi Vision that the current restrictions on livestock movement were implemented in terms of the Press Release of the 7th of August 2013 following the detection of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) at Ivilivinzi, Masikili and Ikumwe Crushpen areas on the 5th of August 2013.

He added that this action was taken in terms of the Animal Health Act No. 1 of 2011. Following the detection of FMD movement, restrictions among other measures were enforced to establish the full extent of the outbreak.

“Apart from movement control other measures like booster FMD vaccination, fortnightly to monthly surveillance, mounting roadblocks and awareness campaigns to stakeholders through meetings and media were implemented.” He said.

Asked if the ban could only be applicable to the affected areas that those that are not affected can still continue moving and do business for their livelihood .

Dr. Shoopala explained “It is true that livestock plays an important role in the livelihood of most farmers in the Zambezi Region and it is regretted that outbreaks of FMD affects livestock marketing in the region.

However, effective control of FMD requires strict movement control which is undoubtedly difficult in communal farming systems where there are no fence boundaries to assist in movement control. Restricting some parts and opening other areas to market has been considered, but this would jeopardise the strict movement controls that are required for effective FMD control.”

 He warned that opening up other areas will no doubt promote some unscrupulous farmers to move animals illegally from restricted areas to enjoy marketing opportunities in other areas.

“This scenario unfortunately can result infected animals being moved to disease free areas leading to disease spread and thereby hampering control efforts. Hence it is difficult to open some areas for trade while others are being denied especially for a disease like FMD which is very contagious and can spread far and wide.” He said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Shoopala pointed out that, Anthrax was detected at Masikili where 2 elephant died in July 2013. Following this outbreak a total of 22,067 cattle were vaccinated against anthrax in the eastern Zambezi Region along the Chobe River.

The ministry also revealed that in another outbreak, 5 cattle died of the disease at Shaile village some 60 km away south of Katima Mulilo in December 2013. And a ring vaccination of 20km around that area saw 10,649 cattle being vaccinated against anthrax.

“Currently the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) is busy implementing a vaccination programme for FMD and Anthrax in the eastern parts of the region , while the western part will be covered in February 2014.”

Other measures done by government against the disease were community meetings and radio programmes in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and Ministry of Health and Social Services to sensitise the public about the dangers of anthrax.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry will continue to intensify its effort to control FMD, anthrax and any other diseases that are of public health and economic importance.

Other success story is that the Ministry intends to establish a meat processing facility in the region to enable processing of meat products through cooking, among other to alleviate the impact of FMD outbreaks in the Zambezi region.

He further announced that “We appeal to the farmers in the region to work closely with the local DVS officials during disease investigation and implementation of control measures.”

 

 

 

 

 


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