FMD outbreak under control

There is no need to panic about meat exports spreading foot-and-mouth disease from Namibia, industry leaders emphasise.

26 February 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

The agriculture ministry says the last cases of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) were detected more than a month ago and the outbreak is now under control.

According to the ministry, an update on the FMD outbreak in the NCAs was provided to the US agriculture department in November last year.

According to the ministry’s deputy director for public relations, Chrispin Matongela, the US agriculture department expressed satisfaction with the information provided.

The FMD outbreak in Namibia was first detected on 28 September 2020 in the Kavango East Region and then spread to Kavango West, Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Oshana.

Misconceptions

That prompted American farmers to call on the US government to immediately stop importing beef from Namibia.

According to Matongela the last FMD cases were detected on 20 January at Ekuli village in the Tondoro constituency of Kavango West.

“The ministry is not concerned about any possibility of FMD spreading from Namibia to the US as the current FMD outbreak does not affect trade in animals and animal products from the FMD-free zone of Namibia.”

Matongela said the Namibian beef exported to the USA is derived from cattle born and raised in the FMD-free zone of Namibia and slaughtered at Meatco export abattoir in Windhoek.

“Vaccination of cattle is going on well and we encourage all farmers to present their cattle at crush pens for vaccination in the first round of vaccination and also the second round of vaccination when requested to do so by the veterinary services.”

Cordon fence

Meatco CEO Mwilima Mushokabanji pointed out that Namibia has an effective Livestock Identification and Traceability System.

He added that the Veterinary Cordon Fence has been in place since 1915 and has demonstrated its worth in combating numerous animal diseases.

“Due to its importance, high emphasis is placed on the maintenance of the VCF. It is a task shared amongst the livestock industry agriculture ministry, the environment ministry and the police.”

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