Agriculture battles coronavirus

Auctions of livestock, sales to local abattoirs, the export of agricultural products and the importing of fodder and other agricultural inputs must continue.

01 April 2020 | Agriculture

STAFF REPORTER

WINDHOEK



While the agriculture ministry has gathered all stakeholders to discuss the impact of the coronavirus on the livestock sector, the industrialisation ministry has requested an emergency plan from the business sector to mitigate the impact of the virus on the economy. According to the Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU), it took part in both meetings and supports the proactive actions government has implemented to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The NAU said it has already implemented several measures, including suspending large meetings.

Advice was also sent to members on what to do to limit the spread of the virus on farms.

“It is of utmost importance that trade must not be stopped. Therefore, auctions of livestock, sales to local abattoirs, the export of agricultural products and the importing of fodder and other agricultural inputs must continue,” the NAU said.



Precautionary measures

The Directorate of Veterinary Services issued a notice last week for certain measures to be followed at any event where animals are gathered.

Measures to be taken include that only people who play a specific role at an auction (veterinary, auctioneer, buyers and sellers) can attend, after having undergone temperature scans.

“No children may be allowed at auctions or vendors,” said the union.

Furthermore, during auctions, facilities must be provided for washing hands, as well as a hand dryer and disinfectants. Social distancing should also be maintained during the event.

“It is essential that staff be available to dispense disinfectants after handwashing. Any trade shows, sporting events and demonstrations must be postponed,” said the NAU.

In addition, all animal collection sites must be equipped with a standard operating procedure, in accordance with the guidelines of the World Health Organisation, in consultation with the local state veterinarian, to prevent any person from contracting the coronavirus or spreading it.

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