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Gam wants veterinary ‘yellow line’ lifted

2022-07-05  Staff Reporter

Gam wants veterinary ‘yellow line’ lifted
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Paulina Ndalikokule

 

The Gam Farmers Association wants the government to remove the Foot and Mouth Disease surveillance zone in the settlement and stop cattle from being quarantined for up to 31 days before they can be sold.

GAMA marketing officer Samuel Maharero suggested the government finds a solution that will result in removing the extended quarantine process of livestock intending to leave the area.

Maharero feels the classification is unfair on Gam.

“We want all Namibians to be able to sell their animals without interruption, so we want the government to remove Gam from the surveillance zone and move the quarantine process to Tsumkwe.

“Tsumkwe then becomes active surveillance and starts selling their cattle through a quarantine process. When it is confirmed that all animals are FDM free, it becomes surveillance free and the process goes to the rest of the zones in Namibia,” he said.

Gam is an FMD-protected area in terms of cattle movement, and it is classified as operating behind a yellow line. 

Contrary to a ‘Red Line’ zone, where cattle may never be exported, a ‘Yellow Line’ allows for the exportation of cattle, provided that they are quarantined for a specified period.

For many years, the settlement has been under a surveillance zone, which keeps animals quarantined for 21 days in accordance with International Veterinary Office rules to ensure cattle were not infected with foot and mouth disease before being sold.

FMD was recently detected in 2020 in the Kavango East region and subsequently spread to Kavango West, Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Kunene, Oshana and Omusati regions, including the Tsumkwe constituency in the Otjozondupa region, which covers Gam settlement.

Despite the fact that the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform has lifted the movement restrictions imposed on cloven-hoofed animals and products, following FMD outbreaks in the FMD Protection Zone, FMD surveillance and cattle vaccination against FMD are still in place to prevent future outbreaks.

According to Maharero, farmers are spending more money on quarantine, especially now that the European Union has changed quarantine days from 21 days to 31 days.

“It’s a huge challenge for our farmers because they have to spend a lot of money to keep these animals in quarantine for the extra 10 days,” he explained.

He emphasised other challenges affecting the organisation, including the theft of their cattle.

“Farmers lose cattle because many of us cannot afford to pay workers to care for our cattle on the farm and in the quarantine area at the same time,” Maharero explained.

He also stated the association intends to set up steel kraals to accommodate a large number of cattle.

“We intend to divide the quarantine into camps, and then we will plan for the new auction pens,” Maherero said.

Farmers have raised concerns about water boreholes in the quarantine camp area being very far from the kraal, where the marketing of cattle happens.

“We need more water points in the area because cattle have to travel up to seven kilometres to drink water,” a concerned farmer said.


2022-07-05  Staff Reporter

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