By Petronella Sibeene
The veterinary department in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry recently signed a technical agreement on cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Health.
Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Dr Nickey Iyambo and Italian Ambassador to Namibia Amaldo Abeti signed the agreement.
The cooperation will assure the safety of food of animal origin considering the mutual interest in the extended trade in live animals and pro-ducts of animals.
“Animal health is an important aspect in Namibia and the signing of the agreement is the start of good things to come,” said the minister, adding that Government remains committed to animal health.
Animal health, according to Iyambo, remains crucial in ensuring that the meat produced in Namibia meets the required European Union standards especially that Namibia is still a young country that needs assistance to develop.
Dr Otto Huebschle, the chief veterinary officer, said Namibia will greatly benefit from the signed agreement and the Italian experience.
The agreement is aimed at strengthening cooperation with a view to keeping infectious diseases and zoo noses under control.
Diseases of concern, according to Huebschle, include contagious bovine pleuro-pneumonia and blue tongue that mainly affects horses.
The agreement would also ensure the facilitation of the exchange of information on animal health and hygiene aspects involved in the production and processing of products of animal origin.
It also covers the exchange of bacterial and viral strains used for manufacturing biological products and the organisation of training courses through the use of web-based technology. Abeti said the political stability in Namibia, as well as its infrastructure, position Namibia as a vital centre for the Italian government.
The agreement covers a period of five years and is renewable.