While Cabinet has approved N$157 million for the immediate needs to combat foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the northern communal areas (NCAs), the government will eventually spend more than N$208 million to eradicate the most feared animal disease once and for all.
The additional N$51.3 million will be made available in the next two financial years to erect animal control fences between Namibia and Angola and eventually also Botswana.
The lack of control fences has been the biggest bone of contention in Namibia’s fifty-year battle against FMD and Cabinet now feels erecting such fences is the only lasting solution to eradicate FMD.
The importance of animal control fences was once again underlined by the fact the latest outbreaks in the NCAs all have their origin in cattle razed in Angola – or cattle that came into contact with such cattle.
Cabinet has now ordered that a permanent and lasting solution to control the outbreak of animal diseases in the NCAs is the erection of livestock fences between Namibia and Angola, which will control the movement of animals and allow for designated veterinary control points where such animals can and must be allowed to move strictly under control.
When announcing Cabinet’s all-out war against FMD this week, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa said after the erection of such control fences, the continuous vaccination of animals within the borders of Namibia should eventually ensure the eradication of animal diseases.
This will be done with the necessary consultations between the Namibian and Angolan authorities since a memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding the situation was already signed two years ago.
The most urgent intervention for now is the vaccination of all 1.2 million cattle within the containment area. Half a million doses of vaccine arrived from Botswana yesterday to start the process. The outbreaks occurred in the Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions on May 12 and 13. A total clampdown on animals and animal products from the NCAs was ordered last week as a result of the outbreak, which has since spread rapidly westwards, while roadblocks have been set up at strategic points where cars are being sprayed and disinfected.
The movement of animals from south of the veterinary cordon fence to the NCAs have also been suspended as well as movement of animals across the Namibian/Angolan border.