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22 000 Stray cattle around Lake Ngami threaten FMD control

Publishing Date : 09 July, 2018

Author : BONIFACE KEAKABETSE

Controlling the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in the Ngami will not be an easy feat as the area reportedly has an excess of 22 thousand stray cattle. Ngamiland Farmers Association Chairman, Mod Masedi confirmed the staggering number in an interview, explaining that the number is a concern for the ongoing FMD control efforts in the communal lands along Lake Ngami area.  


However, Masedi explained that a farmers association’s taskforce has been formed to consult with the affected communities on the solution to the problem. “We need all cattle in the area to be vaccinated during the ongoing FMD vaccination, but there is a high number of stray cattle which disadvantages FMD control efforts.” Masedi revealed that the task team is meeting on Tuesday to come up with a way forward.


Masedi’s sentiments were corroborated by Principal Veterinary Officer, Dr Odireleng Thololwane who also told farmers during a workshop on Wednesday that there are high numbers of stray cattle around Lake Ngami. He stated that the stray cattle are a menace to their efforts to control the ongoing outbreak of FMD in the area. The latest FMD outbreak was recorded in Naune cattle post on June 10. The following week more FMD discoveries were made at Kgomotshwana crush, taking the total number of cattle found to be infected with FMD to 20. Dr Thololwane revealed that FMD was mainly discovered on calves.  The FMD type has been identified to be SAT 2. Currently the DVS FMD team is undertaking vaccinations, patrols and disease surveillance.


DVS officials have blamed the recurrent outbreaks on farmers’ failure to control the movement of their animals as lots of animals stray from cattle posts to graze on the communal pastures of Lake Ngami where there is abundant free water. Meanwhile, North West District Councillors have grilled government over the delay to start the national Foot and Mouth Disease special unit.


Commenting on Full Council Speech by Chairman Duncan Enga recently, Boyei ward Councillor, Ntlogelang Kebonyekgotla said government in December revealed that a FMD special unit within the Department of Veterinary services was being formed for the sole mandate of fighting FMD in Botswana.


He said in December 2017, Ngamiland Agricultural Coordinator, Obert Mabutha told councillors during a full council meeting that  work on a special unit that will specifically target  FMD is 96 percent complete. He said Mabutha expressed his hope that the unit would be fully operational during the 2018/19 financial year. He expressed disappointment that the unit was yet to start operations.


In his speech on Monday, NWDC Chairman, Duncan Enga said cattle slaughter for social purposes like weddings and funerals is allowed  within affected villages of  Sehitwa, Bodibeng, Toteng, Kareng and Semboyo but only after  inspection of the animals by veterinary services. Enga said abattoirs are currently un-operational but could soon resume operations once they source animals from non-affected areas.

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