Due to the prevailing drought experienced particularly in northern Namibia, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has announced the lifting of a ban on livestock movement in some areas affected by foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
An official veterinary permit will enable farmers to move their animals freely within areas that were designated as infected. However, movement from the infected area to the containment area is prohibited, except for direct slaughter under official veterinary supervision.
The disease is currently confined to the northern communal areas (NCAs) and government has invested heavily in measures to prevent the disease from spreading, especially into areas south of the veterinary cordon fence (VCF), where the majority of the country’s commercial farmers are located.
The disease was initially detected in the Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions in May, but has since spread to Omusati. Suspected cases have also been reported in the Kunene Region. The second outbreak in the FMD zone occurred in July in the Zambezi Region, to which the government responded by implementing zoning, movement control, decontamination, mass vaccination of cattle, animal disease surveillance and an awareness campaign.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry’s permanent secretary, Abraham Nehemia, yesterday in a statement said significant progress has been made in the containment of the disease.
Nehemia said in light of such progress, the ministry has started a process of cautiously reviewing some of the restrictions imposed at the beginning of the outbreak.
These, he noted, include the movement of livestock within areas previously designated as infected, or as containment areas. Since the outbreak also entailed passengers being checked at roadblocks – which in August caused major anguish among motorists – some roadblocks have also been done away with.
Of the 42 roadblocks set up at strategic points to enforce the restriction of the movement of animals and their products, as well as other potentially infectious materials and decontamination in the NCAs, only 26 will remain in place. In addition, he said, patrol teams would be deployed to monitor the situation.
Meanwhile, roadblocks such as those at Divundu, Kayofa Farm, Mpungu, Musese, Okapeleki and Katwitwi, all in Kavango East and West, will remain in place. In Kunene Region the Enyandi, Okatjimbaku-Oronditi, Oronditi, Oshinhungwa and Swartbooidrift roadblocks will also remain in place.
In Ohangwena Region the roadblocks that remain are Endola, Kavango/Ohangwena, Odibo, Omungwelume, Ohuno and Oshakango, while in Omusati they are at Kasamane, Okapalelona, Omahanene and Ruacana.
Further, in Oshikoto Region they are at King Nehale, Okankolo, Omutsegwonime, Onyuulaye and Oshigambo, while in the Zambezi Region, Kongola remains the only place with a roadblock in place.
Nehemia also said the movement of thatch grass from Kavango East and West regions to the rest of Namibia would be permitted under a veterinary permit, which contains the conditions that must be adhered to. Traders involved in the movement of thatch grass are requested to contact local State veterinarians in the area of origin before making plans to move grass, as some restrictions remain in place.
Movement of hay, sorghum or maize stalks from the north to south past the veterinary cordon fence, he said, would only be allowed from pre-approved green scheme farms, where the farm is securely fenced off to ensure it is not accessible to cloven-hoofed animals.
This, he said, is only possible under the cover of a veterinary permit, which contains conditions that include a four-month quarantine that must be adhered to. The movement of treated hides, skins and game trophies would also be allowed to enter areas south of the veterinary cordon fence, following laid down procedures.