Over 4 000 cattle from Botswana’s foot-and-mouth (FMD) infested Zone VI area have already been slaughtered by the Cold Storage Company (CSC) following conclusion of a beef import deal with that country’s Ministry of Agriculture last month.
Botswana’s Agriculture minister Christian De Graaf told a Press conference CSC — which was said to have started slaughtering the infected cattle early last month — had by Thursday last week culled 4 000 beasts.
De Graaf said CSC would pay Botswana a flat rate of 2 000 pula per beast, in addition to transport costs.
The CSC’s chief executive officer Ngoni Chinogaramombe was yesterday reluctant to comment on the issue saying he was out of office.
“Just send your questions through email. I will look into them tomorrow when I am in the office,” he said.
Botswana engaged CSC to assist in the slaughter of its infected cattle to curb the spread of FMD especially from Zone VI, which is along the Botswana-Zimbabwe border.
The neighbouring country reportedly engaged CSC after realising its own meat processor, Botswana Meat Commission did not have the capacity to process about 45 000 animals from the infected area within a four-month period.
“The disease would eventually escape and spread to the rest of Zone VI or seven and other zones if control measures are not taken to eradicate the disease,” said De Graaf.
He said it was estimated half of the animals from the infected area would be sold to Zimbabwe.
The rest of the herd, which was either small in size, calves, very sick animals, wild cattle, very old or heavily pregnant beasts would be killed and the carcasses destroyed. Botswana’s Zone VI has over 200 000 cattle.
The minister said any further delays in carrying out the culling programme would have resulted in the spread of the disease to neighbouring areas namely Zone VIII or Serowe, Zone IX, (Palapye), Zone V (Boteti) and (Masunga) or Zone IIIC.