No Outbreak in FMD-Free Zone As Philippines Bans Namibian Beef

Commenting on reports in the media that the Philippines has instituted a ban on the importation of Namibian beef and livestock products, supposedly due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), Joseph Iita, emphasized that the FMD outbreak is limited to the Zambezi Region and does not affect the FMD status of the rest of Namibia.

“There is no FMD outbreak in the FMD-free zone of Namibia from which beef for export to trading partners is sourced,” said Iita.

“Whilst we are cognizant of the fact that the Republic of the Philippines, as a member of the World Animal Health Organisation has the right to safeguard its territory from risks posed by the trade in livestock and livestock products, the MAWF had not been officially informed of this decision and finds it necessary to clarify the matter and allay the misconceptions that such reports might raise,” said Iita in statement released last week.

An FMD outbreak was reported at the Kikya crush pen in the Linyanti constituency of the Zambezi Region on December 2, 2014.

The entire Zambezi and the Mukwe constituency of the Kavango East Region are classified as FMD-infected zones due to the presence of large numbers of free roaming wild African buffalo, which are known reservoirs of the FMD virus.

Whereas the disease is controlled through regular vaccination and movement restrictions, regular outbreaks of FMD occur particularly during flood seasons or when translocation of large number of livestock takes place.

Owning to its FMD classification the Zambezi has limited marketing opportunities for its livestock and livestock products and only matured, de-glanded and deboned beef is exported under veterinary supervision when there are no FMD occurrences. However, the Directorate of Veterinary Services does not certify any beef or livestock products for export to the Philippines.

“The ministry has made great strides in bringing this particular outbreak under control, including the compulsory vaccination of all the animals in the affected kraals and is continuing to perform mandatory surveillance activities in order to comply with World Animal Health directives on FMD,” explained Iita.

He added that the ministry would keep the public updated on the progress of the outbreak and assured producers and trading partners that FMD in Namibia is under control, save for the particular outbreak, and that beef and livestock exported from Namibia are subjected to a high-level of veterinary inspection and supervision to ensure safety.

Source : New Era