By Staff Reporter WINDHOEK The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has started the groundwork on a pilot project to ensure that the Owambo/Mangetti area is free of foot-and-mouth disease and lung sickness. The project aims at ensuring that the two diseases are eradicated as the elimination of foot-and-mouth disease and lung sickness are crucial in international livestock marketing. When the project proves successful, it may be extended to the west to ensure that the Kunene region is ‘separated’ from the Omusati region – the ‘separation’ of Kunene from Omusati is intended to be the translocation of the veterinary cordon fence, otherwise known as the red line and is a long-term proposal. The envisaged separation will be one way of starting the translocation process in the near future, not as media reports recently indicated that the separation of Kunene from Omusati would start next year. The process, stressed Chief Veterinarian in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Dr Alaster Samkange, is no guarantee that the separation will start next year. It is also unlikely that the fence will be removed even if the important diseases influencing international trade are entirely eliminated. This will be for the added purposes of disease control in case the diseases occur again. Meanwhile, a delegation of councillors from the northern communal areas, representatives of the Ohangwena Regional Council, farmers organizations, the Veterinary Department, extension workers and members of the Meat Board visited Botswana recently to familiarize themselves with disease control measures with respect to fences in that country. Samkange, who represented the Veterinary Department, said Namibia, which has a cordon fence for animal disease control wanted to learn what its neighbour Botswana is doing in this respect. The delegation, which was led by Kunene Regional Governor, Dudu Murorua, learnt that Botswana has many more fences than Namibia, said Samkange. In addition to animal disease control, the delegation also learnt about marketing strategies of livestock and livestock products, among others.
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