US cattle farmers worried about FMD in Namibia

“The unfortunate and continued presence of FMD outbreaks in Namibia is a serious concern for US cattle producers,” Bacus said.

21 January 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT







WINDHOEK

The marketing and trade association for America’s one million cattle farmers and traders has called for continued vigilance in response to continued foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks in Namibia.

The country last week announced another outbreak in the Okatjali constituency of the Oshana Region and in the Okongo Constituency of Ohangwena.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association's (NCBA) senior director of international trade and market access, Kent Bacus, issued a statement in response to this.

“The unfortunate and continued presence of FMD outbreaks in Namibia is a serious concern for US cattle producers. While the latest outbreak occurred in the buffer zone and north of the veterinary cordon fence, this is the second occurrence of FMD in a matter of months,” he said.

Several outbreaks

The FMD outbreak in Oshana was first detected on 6 January, while the one in Ohangwena was detected on 28 December last year.

The agriculture ministry also declared an FMD outbreak in the in the Olukonda constituency of Oshikoto on 28 December.

The ministry further confirmed that the FMD outbreaks detected last year in Kavango East and Kavango West are still continuing and all control measures instituted are still applicable.

“FMD is a grave and persistent threat to the US cattle industry and warrants every available caution and protection to ensure that the problems plaguing cattle production in other parts of the world do not reach our shores,” Bacus said.

Remain vigilant

He said the NCBA encourages the United States department of agriculture to remain vigilant in ensuring all preventative measures are in place to protect the cattle industry in the US from exposure.

"With regards to FMD, Namibia is divided into two zones. The northern zone, where FMD continues to occur and is not approved for export to the United States, and the southern zone - an area that is free of FMD and is designated as safe for export.

“Namibia has extensive measures in place, including a cordon fence and a buffer zone to prevent the spread of FMD from the northern zone to the southern zone,” he said.

Meatco sent its first consignment of beef to the United States at the beginning of last year, making Namibia the first African country to export beef to the USA.

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