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Banking on animal health

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Barclays and BVI Join Forces For Livestock Health

Barclays Bank Botswana and Botswana Vaccine Institute (BVI) today cemented their collaboration as they brought together industry partners for a workshop on sustainable preventative control of animal diseases.

The workshop that was aimed at tackling animal diseases for the purpose of improving rural livelihoods in Africa was held at Mokolodi Nature Reserve and it attracted participants from around the world.

With the majority of African communities relying on agricultural livelihood and livestock accounting for over 30% of agricultural GDP, the belief is that the sector has the potential to offer opportunities for sustainable economic development, social well-being, food security and nutrition.

However, the prevalence of high impact infectious Trans-boundary Animal Diseases (TADs) such as foot and mouth disease is resulting in underperformance and subdued productivity within the agricultural sector.

Such diseases also leave humans vulnerable to health risks reflected in the increase of diseases such as anthrax, rabies and TB.

Minister of Agriculture, Patrick Ralotsia commended the initiative by Barclays Bank Botswana and BVI as, he said, it demonstrates Botswana’s pioneering efforts in advancing the sustainability of the agricultural sector in Africa.

“This project is in line with the Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Organisation for Animal Health (FAO/OIE) Global Framework that calls for greater control of transboundary diseases with the eventual goal of eradication, where possible. Sub-saharan Africa has seen the devastating effects which diseases like foot and mouth have had on animal health and agricultural sectors. The collaboration between Barclays Bank Botswana and BVI demonstrates how private-public partnerships are vital to successfully tackle our common cross-border challenges,” noted BVI General Manager, George Matlho.

Barclays Bank Botswana Managing Director, Reinette van der Merwe said the benefits that will arise from their effort were multidimensional as various socio-economic groups would be positively impacted.

“Beneficiaries range from small farmers who rely on their livestock for income, to livestock traders to the general public who will have peace of mind as they will be better protected against the effects of livestock-related diseases,” he explained.