Namibia and SA re-examining animal health conditions

WINDHOEK: Namibia and South Africa (SA) are re-examining animal health requirements for the exporting of livestock to the neighbouring country.

Acting Chief Veterinary Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry’s Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS), Dr John Shoopala told Nampa on Tuesday that a bilateral meeting took place in Pretoria, South Africa last Friday to discuss the way forward.

“In this regard, an ad hoc expert team comprising one official each from the two countries was appointed to draft the new veterinary health certificates for cattle, sheep and goats to be exported to South Africa.

The agreed animal health measures would then be implemented with effect from 01 May 2014,” he explained.

During a bilateral meeting between Namibian and South African veterinary authorities held in Pretoria in December last year, SA announced that it was in the process of harmonising its animal health import requirements for livestock (cattle, sheep and goats) from Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.

In that regard, South Africa tabled veterinary import permit conditions, which were to be implemented with effect from 01 May this year.

Shoopala noted that although Namibia was in agreement with South Africa’s intention aimed at harmonising animal health conditions for the importation of livestock into that country, the country was of the opinion that these could not be applied uniformly across all countries in the SADC sub-region.

He stated that animal health conditions are not necessarily the same in the respective countries.

For example, Namibia exported livestock from a zone which is internationally recognised as free of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) without vaccination; has an excellent animal identification and traceability system; applies a range of animal disease prevention and control measures; and boasts a well-structured animal disease surveillance system.

“Once the conditions are agreed upon by the two countries, the results will be communicated to all concerned stakeholders,” he added.