Vaccinations for FMD to save meat industry

Windhoek- Government will spend about N$119 million to vaccinate close to 1.2 million cattle against foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the north-central regions of Namibia with immediate effect.

FMD is spread by the movement of infected animals and animal products, including contaminated vehicles, clothes, shoes and other objects.

Half a million vaccines were expected to arrive from the Botswana Vaccine Institute this week, said Deputy Director of Animal Disease Control in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), John Shoopala.

“This is a challenge. FMD is not only in these two constituencies (Okongo in Ohangwena Region and Okankolo in the Oshikoto Region), but is now in the Omusati Region as well.

“It is also suspected in the Kunene Region. FMD is also moving westwards now,” he warned at a media conference on Wednesday.

Three rounds of vaccines will be required, with the immediate vaccination to be done as soon as it’s available; the second round within 30 days after the first one; and the third round to be administered within one year thereafter.

Speaking at the same occasion, Agriculture Minister John Mutorwa said the total budget for the whole exercise is more than N$208 million.

He said Government gave the green light to the ministry to act with immediate effect after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.

All funds for the immediate intervention are from the 2015/2016 budget of the ministry. Expenses include FMD vaccine purchase; vaccination equipment; laboratory expenses; protective clothing; camping equipment; road block equipment; about 40 4×4 vehicles; overtime payments; and casual labour.

“If we fail, then the whole beef industry can be in jeopardy. As a result, Cabinet is of the view and decided that the permanent solution to control the outbreak of the animal disease in the north-central regions of Namibia is the erection of a fence between Namibia and Angola to control the movement of animals between the two countries,” he noted.

There will be designated veterinary control points, where such animals must be allowed to move, strictly under control, said Mutorwa.

The cost of the fence is estimated at more than N$51 million.

The MAWF has designated as a containment area the larger part of the north-central areas, north of the B1 main road from Oshivelo to Oshikango and from Oshivelo to Katwitwi.

Here, surveillance of further cases will be undertaken and any movement of cattle will be restricted, he said.

The Ministry of Agriculture will erect temporary roadblocks along the main roads to control the movement of cattle to other areas. Officials from the ministry will man these roadblocks, with the assistance of the Namibian Police Force and other law-enforcement agencies.

Sufficient human resource is also needed to assist with the vaccination exercise and the Meat Board of Namibia will provide 250 casual workers, as well as about N$6 million towards the FMD illumination exercise.

The first cases of FMD were detected at the Ondama Yomunghete crush pen on 11 May 2015 and at the Okalupalona and Onehanga crush pens on 12 May 2015.

The second case was detected on 13 May 2015 at the Okakango village in the Okankolo constituency in the Oshikoto Region.

The Ministry of Agriculture further confirmed that in all cases reported, cattle from Namibia came in contact with cattle grazing in some parts of the Cuando Cubango Province of Angola.

As a result of the outbreak, the Ministry of Agriculture imposed a ban on the marketing of cattle and cattle products in the north-central regions of Namibia. The movement of animals has also been restricted and abattoirs in those regions are affected.

Areas where FMD cases have been detected are: the whole of the Ohangwena Region, Oshikoto Region including the Okankolo constituency, Onyaanya constituency north of the B1 road, Omuthiya constituency north of the B1 road, Eengodi constituency, Onayena constituency and the Oniipa constituency.

Areas in the Oshana Region includes the Ondangwa constituency north of the B1 road and the C46 road, Okaku constituency north of C46, Oshakati East and West constituencies north of C46, Okatana constituency north of C46 and D3609 straight up to the Oshana-Ohangwena border.

Areas in the Omusati Region include all constituencies and parts north of C46.

Areas in the Kavango West Region include the Mpungu constituency west of the B15 and B11 roads. – Nampa

June 2015
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