The government of Botswana has lifted the ban on the movement of all cloven-hoofed animals and their fresh products into Ngamiland following a mass vaccination exercise that has stabilised the foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak that hit the district late in September.
The ban took effect on 21 September after confirmation of an FMD outbreak near Maun. It was upgraded to red alert status a week later, when dozens of dead hippos floated down-river from Namibia amid concerns that they died of anthrax.
More than 120 fatalities were confirmed in Namibia, but the cause of death is yet to be established. In a statement issued in Gaborone late last week, the Department of Veterinary Services said all restrictions on the movement of cloven-hooved animals into Ngamiland district have been lifted.
Further, the department lifted the ban on the inter-district movement (out of the quarantine area) of beef and fresh animal products that have successfully undergone deboning and maturation.
“The ban on the exports of beef from cattle that originate from zones 2a, 2b, 2c and 2e is hereby lifted following a 30-day absence of the disease (FMD),” the department said. The order also relaxed previous restrictions imposed on the movement of livestock to quarantine and slaughter for social occasions.
However, meat from zone 2D of Ngamiland still has to be consumed locally or cooked before it can be moved to other zones. Applicants for social slaughter permits are required to produce proof of certification of the slaughter post from the Department of Health.
BOTSWANA RESTRICTS FRESH PRODUCE IMPORTS
Meanwhile, Botswana has imposed fresh restrictions on the importation of 7 major agricultural products, mainly from South Africa. A notice from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security said the importation of carrots, cabbages, onions, tomatoes, beetroot and potatoes was already restricted.
Lettuce imports will be restricted as from 27 November . However, restrictions on beetroot imports can be waived if the importer procures 50% of their total requirement from the local market.
The ban will affect South African farmers and fresh produce merchants who have traditionally supplied nearly 80% of Botswana’s fruit, dairy and fresh produce requirements.