Govt Sets Aside N$200 Million for Foot-and-Mouth

GOVERNMENT has approved a N$200 million national response towards combating the rapidly spreading foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) that broke out in the northern regions of the country.

The Directorate of Veterinary Services (S) this week revealed that the disease is spreading from the primary regions of Ohangwena and Oshikoto towards the Omusati region, with suspected cases also reported in the Kunene region.

Minister of agriculture John Mutorwa yesterday declared the disease a national emergency that needed combined intervention by all stakeholders.

The Meat Board of Namibia said it has already pledged N$6 million towards the response as well as assigned a team to be dispatched to the affected regions.

Livestock vaccinations kicked off last week after the first case of FMD was reported on 11 May 2014 in the Ondama Yomunghete crush pens and on 12 May 2015 at Okalupalona and Onehanga crush pens in the Okongo constituency. The second case was detected on 13 May.

Deputy chief veterinarian John Shoopala yesterday said although the availability of vaccines was a challenge, the department expects 500 000 new doses from Botswana today.

“The ministry confirmed that all cases reported have track cases to Namibia’s cattle that came into contact with cattle grazing in some parts of the Cuando Cubango province of Angola,” said Mutorwa.

He said as a lasting solution to this problem, Cabinet passed a resolution on 26 May 2015 to have a permanent livestock fence erected along the Namibia-Angolan border to control the movement of livestock.

“This will also allow for setting up designated veterinary control points, where such animals can be allowed to move strictly under control,” he said.

He said consultations will be made with Angolan authorities, regional governors, traditional authorities, regional councillors, farmers and farmers’ unions regarding the erection of the fence.

The ministry further revealed that at least 150 casual employees are needed to assist in the vaccination exercise and more than 40 four-wheel drive vehicles from the ministry’s fleet and the Ministry of Works and Transport’s government garage will be mobilised.

Mutorwa said to contain the further spread of the contagious disease, the S has imposed a livestock movement ban in the containment area.

“The ministry also imposed a ban on the marketing of cattle and cattle products in the northern central regions of Namibia, and movement of animals has also been restricted. The abattoirs in the north central regions are also negatively affected,” said the minister.

He said the larger part of the northern central areas, north of the B1 main road, from Oshivelo to Oshikango and from Oshivelo to Katwitwi have been marked as a containment area wherein the surveillance of further cases will be undertaken, and from which the movement of cattle will be restricted.

Mutorwa added that the ministry has enlisted the help of the Namibian police to ensure that roadblock controls are enforced. A total of 1,2 million livestock within the containment area are expected to be vaccinated in the first of three rounds while the second round will be administered in the next 30 days. The third will be administered in a year.

Source : The Namibian