Namibia will move to lift the ban on the movement of cattle if no further cases of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) are detected until 20 April this year.
April marks three months since the last case of FMD was detected at a crush pen in the Uuvudhiya constituency in Oshana region.
The ban, which is effective in Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Oshana, Omusati and north of Kunene, was imposed after the outbreak was confirmed in some disease management areas.
Agriculture ministry executive director Percy Misika appealed to farmers to be cognisant that their action can have adverse effects on their farming business and livelihoods.
Misika, who was speaking at a Meat Board convention on Friday in Ondangwa, said the disease was brought into the country by a farmer, whose cattle were not quarantined after returning from grazing in Angola.
Namibia and Angola have a standing agreement for local farmers to graze their livestock in Angola, but Angola has no commitment to vaccinate cattle against FMD.
Misika said the ministry has no control over the movement of cattle but appealed to farmers to ensure their livestock are quarantined when returning them into the country. “The action of some farmers to graze their animals in Angola, where they are not vaccinating and bringing them back without having them quarantined is creating problems for the farming community,” said Misika.
Recounting past FMD outbreaks, Misika said the ministry had previously managed to control an outbreak in 60 days.
He highlighted there were issues of unavailable vaccine, vehicle and human resource to complete the exercise. The ministry in March lifted the ban on transportation and slaughtering of small livestock such as sheep and goats.
The ministry at the time also allowed farmers to move live cattle from FMD free zones for direct slaughter within 72 hours upon arrival under supervision of veterinary services.