FMD contingency plans in spotlight

In a bid to improve opportunities for farmers north of the red line, the Meat Board is revising its FMD contingency plans.

05 February 2019 | Agriculture

The Meat Board of Namibia has initiated the revision of foot-and mouth-disease (FMD) contingency plans, in an effort to create a more conducive environment for abattoirs operating in the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs).

The Meat Board said the revision of the contingency plans form part of its assistance to create marketing opportunities for beef produced in the NCAs.

Therefore, a two-day workshop on FMD is scheduled to take place on Thursday and Friday at the Safari Court Hotel in Windhoek.

During the workshop in-depth discussions regarding trends of FMD in southern Africa, methods of control of outbreaks as well as the implementation of commodity-based trade in Namibia will be held between the Directorate of Veterinary Services in the agriculture ministry and an FMD expert.

The desired outcome of the workshop is customised FMD contingency plans for the FMD infected and FMD protection zones in Namibia, as well as a clear standard operating procedure for the implementation of commodity-based trade.

These efforts are directed towards creating market opportunities for beef produced in the NCAs, which are lasting, practical and cost-effective.

Furthermore, the Meat Board has also expressed concern about the recent outbreak of FMD in neighbouring South Africa, which resulted in Namibia banning the import of cloven-hoofed animals and products into Namibia.

“The impact of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak, as has recently been the case in South Africa, is apparent. Exports cease with immediate effect, leading to an oversupply of meat in the market and resultantly a decline in producer prices. Imagine the impact a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak would have in Namibia's free zone,” said the Meat Board.

According to the organisation all exports will be stopped with immediate effect, domestically there will be no transport (movement) of livestock and meat inland, and producer prices will exponentially decline, as Namibian beef producers north of the veterinary cordon fence (VCF) can testify.

“It is therefore imperative that producers in Namibia be vigilant to maintain Namibia's FMD-free zone.”

The Meat Board said producers can do so by not supporting the illegal movement of animals from neighbouring countries, by protecting the integrity of the VCF and other boundary fences, and by reporting all stray animals to the nearest office of the Directorate of Veterinary Services.

Due to a lack of government funding, the Meat Board has supported the directorate and was also involved in the repair of the VCF in Kunene since the beginning of the year.

Such support was by way of transporting materials, servicing vehicles and appointing temporary staff. The repair of the VCF will shortly be extended to other areas, said the Meat Board.



ELLANIE SMIT

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