Botswana rakes in $8m from cattle sales

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The Botswana government has reportedly generated about $8 million from selling cattle taken from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) zones to Zimbabwes Cold Storage Company (CSC) since the conclusion of the deal in April last year, it has been learnt.

The neighbouring countrys Acting Minister of Agriculture Keletso Rakhudu told parliament that Botswana had so far generated revenue of $7 612 000 from selling 25 374 cattle to Zimbabwe.

A Botswana weekly newspaper, the Sunday Standard, reported that Zimbabwe owed Botswana $338 700 for 1 129 cattle.

Deputy Agriculture minister Seiso Moyo yesterday confirmed that Zimbabwe had bought a substantial number of cattle, but did not have the exact figures at hand.

The agreement we have with that country still stands and I believe the figures they are giving include the current second phase in the deal, he said. He said the deal had helped to restore CSCs viabilty, which was tottering on the brink of collapse.

Botswana sealed the deal to sell cattle to Zimbabwe following an outbreak of FMD in April last year. The two countries agreed that some of the cattle were suitable for consumption.

Rakhudu told the legislators that FMD outbreaks in Botswana were caused by spillovers from Zimbabwe and exporting the cattle was part of the solution.

About 47 578 cattle have been killed or exported to date and the last clinical case was seen in July 2011, Rakhudu said.

He said Botswana was collaborating with Zimbabwe along the border to control FMD.

Zimbabwe has received vaccines, vehicles and personnel for the vaccination of cattle inside the country.