Hailing it as a milestone event in the relentless four-month-old battle against foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the northern communal areas (NCAs), chairperson of the Livestock Producers Organisation (LPO), Mecki Schneider yesterday announced a total contribution of N$563,000 towards the Namibian Agriculture Union’s contingency fund.
Schneider praised sponsors, such as Cymot (N$150,000), FNB Foundation (N$100,000), Feedmaster (N$50,000) and all individuals for their contributions, which enabled the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) to contain FMD since the first two outbreaks in April.
Schneider reassured the audience at the annual general meeting of the LPO that no new cases of FMD have been reported, saying an update of the situation will be available this morning (Wednesday) after a meeting late yesterday between the LPO and the DVS.
“The LPO – as backbone of the livestock industry – is overwhelmed by the way in which the industry approached the seriousness of the outbreaks, especially in light of Namibia’s latest groundbreaking initiatives to export beef to various international markets, and to realise the dream of NCA producers to also have their meat exported.
Government and each role player and farmer did a fantastic job to halt FMD, which caught all farmers by surprise,” after an absence of almost fifty years.”
Apart from the sponsors, he also hailed the hard work of DVS officials and Namibian farmers who are working around the clock to repair the veterinary cordon fence south of Etosha National Park.
“The fence erected in 1963, is some 160 km long, and was in a dilapidated state. It had been cut in various places and some of the fencing and poles had been stolen. With the help of sponsors and farmers, we were able to repair it as best we could with the funds available,” he told New Era.
He says the only lasting solution would be a new and complete fence. Government has already allocated more than N$51 million to be spent on erecting a fence that will for once and all take care of the movement of FMD carriers, such as buffalo.