N$95 million needed for FMD vaccination

16 February 2021 | Agriculture

TUYEIMO HAIDULA

OMUTHIYA

Government will spend N$95 million to vaccinate at least 500 000 cattle in northern Namibia where foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) continues to wreak havoc.

Agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein revealed that of the 800 000-strong cattle population in the north, government plans to vaccinate 500 000, adding that one million doses are needed for the northern regions, including Zambezi.

Each animal will require two doses of the vaccine, with each costing N$40, bringing the total price to N$40 million.

The entire operation will require a budget of N$95 million.

The minister also had good news to share with meat vendors in the northern regions when he announced that business can return to normal next month.

The vendors had to stop selling their wares in January when the ministry announced the FMD outbreak, leaving them desperate and stranded.

“I sympathise with the vendors because Covid-19 already affected their business and now FMD. But please, let’s comply. If this is not done, the timeframe may be extended to six months or more if a case is picked up,” he stressed, speaking to traditional leaders, farmers and council leaders at Omuthiya last week.

Containing the outbreak

Schlettwein said government is working on containing the outbreak and needs the support of farmers so they can lift the ban and allow people to market their products.

In order to control movement, 36 animal control roadblocks have been erected in Kavango East and West, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Oshana and Omusati.

“We have to maintain restrictions of movement in the whole northern area because the whole northern area from Kunene to Kavango East is considered as one farming area where cattle move freely without restrictions. FMD can easily spread across the whole area. This is risky for farmers and the economy, so we appeal to you to help us get the operation of vaccination done efficiently,” the minister said.

Chief veterinarian for the north-west division, Dr Kennedy Shoombe, also pleaded with farmers to follow regulations put in place so the ban can be lifted as soon as possible.

He said the reason why people were not allowed to slaughter their livestock for consumption locally was that meat from cattle affected by FMD can be highly contaminated and handling of such meat can further spread the disease.

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