Africa-Press – Botswana. The Zone 6b has been declared free from Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

Addressing a kgotla meeting in Tsamaya on Friday, Minister of Agriculture, Mr Fidelis Molao said the disease broke out around August 2022 in Butale, which resulted in the depopulation of cattle in the zone.

He said the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) had conducted all the necessary inspections before declaring the zone free of FMD.

He said it took 20 months for WOAH to declare the zone free of FMD and issued a certificate that the country had done well.

Mr Molao noted that over 10 000 cattle in the zone were taken out and some transported to Maun to be slaughtered at the abattoir.

An agreement, he said was reached with individual farmers on payment methods, and that the ministry intended to start restocking the area with the exercise expected to be completed by the end of August.

Mr Molao said they were in the process of purchasing over 7 000 cattle for about 976 farmers and that the process would be completed by end of August.

He said they intended to buy cattle from nearby villages as they would acclimatise and adapt easily in terms of grazing and the weather.

He said farmers suggested that the restocking should start during the rainy season in October or November.

Mr Molao commended residents and farmers for their cooperation, as they did not illegally relocate their cattle to green zones.

On cross border cattle theft, he advised farmers to form clusters and regiments as well as to join forces with Botswana Defence Force and Botswana Police Service (BPS), including benchmarking from Bobirwa.

Mr Molao also advised farmers to consider training for artificial insemination through Thuo Letlotlo and to start businesses in their farms in order to assist other farmers in their area.

Regarding land that government bought from Tati company, Mr Molao said after government had received the papers for the land acquired, proper consultations would be made on the land use.

In response, Mr Mochive Butale wanted to know whether the livestock would be delivered at the place of farmer’s choice as was promised during a kgotla meeting in Senyawe.

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