The Department of Veterinary Services is looking to expand the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) free zones in the country for the farming community to benefit from increased local and regional beef trade.
These are areas that are recognized FMD free by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
In an interview with Voice Money, Deputy Director of Veterinary Services Dr Letlhogile Oarabile said they are in a process of making sure that eventually zone 7 (Bobirwa) and Zone 3b (Nata/Gweta) that are categorized as red zones are transformed into green zones.
Oarabile was speaking on the sidelines of a stakeholder seminar for the FMD diagnostic tool kit research findings by Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) in Maun last week.
According to him the process has already commenced and if successful they want for the zones to be transformed by November next year.
“We have already submitted our application to the OIE so that it can consider declaring these zones FMD free,” he revealed.
Oarabile highlighted that farmers in the affected zones are not able to trade with their cattle or take for personal consumption outside their areas.
“It is just an internal trade, they cannot even sell to local butcheries outside the zones,” Oarabile explained.
According to the Deputy Director the zones experienced the last FMD outbreak between the year 2011 and 2013.
Meanwhile, Oarabile said they are striving to bring FMD under control and have adequate vaccine coverage in Ngamiland for the district to also in future be considered.
He however explained that the disease is currently under control both in Ngamiland and across the country with the last outbreak registered in September 2014 in zone 2D.
“The situation is currently under control, but because of the international and regional threats we still have to embark in a high level of control measures,” he said.