The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) deputy director, Dr Kefentse Motshegwa has said that they will start to implement new policies to protect the beef industry from a potent danger posed by antibiotic drugs. The deputy director’s tone was clear the beef sector must be protected jealously against imprudent practices from poultry farmers.
Motshegwa revealed at a poultry industry players meeting in Gaborone that, poultry breeders are threatening Botswana Meat Commission’s (BMC) European Union (EU) beef market by a wild use of antibiotic drugs on poultry, for disease prevention instead of cure.
The beef sector is estimated to account for less than 2% of Botswana's GDP. The cattle and beef industry has traditionally played an important role in the Botswana economy and society, with significant contributions to GDP, exports, and employment. Renowned Economic expert Dr Keith Jefferies has argued continuously that “The beef and cattle sector is probably the most heavily protected economic activity in Botswana, in that, apart from BMC’s beef exports, international trade in beef and cattle is prohibited.”
Observers at the symposium are of the view that the latest pronouncement on poultry effects on beef sector may be loaded.
The deputy director said that because poultry have a simple digestive system which digests only 60% of feed, the remaining 40% of undigested feed along with administered antibiotic drugs passes with litter, which when given to cattle as feeds will raise antibiotic levels in EU destined beef to cosmological levels.
Antibiotic medication is a long lasting drug in the body of an animal and feeding cattle chicken manure was banned in the country in 2004.
Motshegwa also said that careless application of antibiotic treatment to poultry also threatens to breed antimicrobial or drug resistance which can take many years to reverse through the developing of new medication that beats new drug resistant disease strains.
“It is very dangerous to feed cattle chicken manure as it can easily bring the economy of the country down to its knees,” he said.
He also added that, in December 2015 they were startled by the amounts of reported antibiotic drugs that were coming into the country. He said that a collective of 6600 kilograms of antibiotic drugs was reported and 1000 kilograms came through the now defunct Livestock Advisory Center (LAC).
He then said that they suspect the remaining 5600 kilograms was going to those who sell animal drugs to poultry breeders and that they also suspect that there is underreporting of antibiotics that come into the country.
“Somebody is busy supplying to those who do poultry and that is very dangerous,” Motshegwa said.
It has also emerged that the careless disposal of poultry manure has even reached the frontiers of wildlife conservation as a study on warthog population in Savuti recently detected high amounts of antibiotics in the wild pigs.
Motshegwa said that there is absolutely no need to give chickens antibiotic drugs as chicken feed naturally comes from the manufacturers already medicated with antibiotics and the fact that local poultry breeders also medicate their poultry, means that they are overdosing it. He also said that good management practice of poultry business is also naturally easy prevention tact.
Furthermore, it was revealed that big time poultry industries situated along the river banks of Notwane have a hand in polluting the river.
Letsweletse Montsho from Water Affairs-Pollution Control Unit said that there is a serious pollution in the Notwane river as there is no proper waste management systems which results in chicken manure making its way into the river.
He further asserted that it had created a cross border problem as the nitrates that are also found in chicken manure have been shown to have a hand in the exponential boom of aquatic weed in Notwane and further downstream in the Limpopo river on the South African side, which gobbles up more river water and chokes the life out of other aquatic plants.
Industry stakeholders have recommend penalties for beef producers who use chicken manure to feed their animals such as being banned from exporting beef to EU as well as registration of poultry breeders for monitoring, among others.
The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.
WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?
Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.
Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed. This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.
In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’ The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.
Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama).
Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.