Zone 6b moos again as Govt delivers first batch of cattle in North East

Kabelo Dipholo
NEW HOME: Cattle kraaled in Butale

After over 17 cattle-less months, Zone 6b in the North East will finally ‘moo’ again.

On Monday (June 10, 2024), President Mokgweetsi Masisi led a delegation of cabinet Ministers and Department Directors to deliver 557 cattle to farmers in the villages of: Butale, Mowana, Ramokgwebana and Senyawe.

It marks the first batch in an exercise to replenish cattle herds, and comes after 10, 219 beasts were culled in 2022 following the outbreak of Foot and Mouth (FMD) disease in the area. In total, the President revealed they intend to give out 7, 981 cattle to 976 affected farmers.

President Masisi announced the decision to cull cattle in the area at a packed Senyawe kgotla on 26th October 2022, promising his government would do everything possible to restock cattle in the zone.

- Advertisement -

“Today, in less than two years, that promise has been fulfilled! The cattle you receive today have been cleared for export to Europe and other lucrative markets abroad. This can only happen in Botswana,” declared President Masisi, to rousing applause.

He, however, noted with concern that the cattle arrives at a time when the country is facing a severe drought.

Masisi warned that the drought is even worse in the North East region, which has little to no grazing grass due to the dominance of the mophane tree.

“Although we’ve subsidized animal feed till the end of this month, I think government should do more to assist farmers and ensure that the cattle survives the drought,” he admitted.

President Masisi further assured farmers that his government intends to increase the grazing area in the North East, part of which will come from the recently purchased land from Tati Company.

- Advertisement -

He urged farmers to take advantage of well researched programmes from Thuo Letlotlo to improve their animals welfare, which will in turn improve the quality of meat exported to foreign markets.

Speaking at the handing over of some of the cattle in Butale the same day, Minister of Agriculture Fidelis Molao said just like the government delivered on the promise in Bobirwa, they’ve done the same in Zone 6b.

The Minister announced they have started buying cattle aged 18 months to three years from Tutume, Tonota and Boteti areas.

- Advertisement -

“We’re going for the younger beasts because we believe they’ll be able to adapt to the area, and are healthy enough to withstand the drought,” said Molao.

Minister Molao further said they are aware of the bad condition of the border fence diving Botswana and Zimbabwe, and assured farmers plans were underway to install a sturdy fence similar to the one used in Bobirwa.

“These are government’s efforts to try to stop our cattle crossing into Zimbabwe and vice versa. However, as farmers you must also make an effort to ensure that your animals are secure,” he said, adding in Bobirwa farmers have formed voluntary patrol teams who periodically man the borderline and regularly check on the newly installed fence.

“You must benchmark in Bobirwa. Make an effort and then government will back your efforts,” he pledged.

Zone 6B was declared FMD free by the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) in May, following Botswana’s adherence to all the necessary protocols.

When the outbreak was confirmed in August 20 months ago, the Bisoli North (Zone 6b) was turned into a containment area, to allow government to decisively deal with the outbreak.

Leave a comment