Disease control fence to go ahead as planned

11 Mar 2015 15:30pm
SHAMANGORWA, 11 MAR (NAMPA) - The Veterinary Cordon Fence (VCF) envisioned to be erected at the Tjova village east of Rundu will go ahead as planned despite a protest from the Hambukushu Traditional Authority.
Fumu Ervin Mbambo of that traditional authority in the Kavango East Region has rejected to the setting up of a disease control fence at that village, because it implies a tribal boundary.
The Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) plans to set up a veterinary disease control fence to curb outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) there.
The fence will help keep buffaloes away from cattle in communal areas. Such a control mechanism will also allow meat from the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) to access the lucrative South African market.
The about 37km-long fence will be set up between the Tjova and Shamangorwa villages - situated some 150km east of Rundu - because the area already has an existing fire cutline, and would therefore be well maintained and protected.
The region’s Ndiyona and Mukwe constituencies have been prone to FMD outbreaks since 2010 because of buffaloes in the nearby Bwabwata National Park.
Mbambo wants the fence shifted further west to the Makena village which is about 25km away from the initial place.
Some quarters within the area fear that the ulterior motive of the fence is to divide the jurisdiction of the Hambukushu Traditional Authority.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) said in a statement issued by its Permanent Secretary (PS) Joseph Iita on Friday that the mandate to construct the VCF is derived from a Cabinet decision titled “Emergency measures to control and prevent the further spread of FMD in the Kavango and Zambezi regions and along the Namibian and Botswana borders”.
The VCF is a World Organisation for Animal Health-recognised instrument to control FMD and facilitate trade in livestock and livestock products.
“The MAWF will continue to construct VCF at the agreed location of Tjova in the Mukwe Constituency and those concerned about and with issues related to tribal boundaries are advised to consult with the affected recognised traditional authority leader and their respective traditional communities,” Iita said.
He stated that in response to the FMD outbreak in 2010, the MAWF as a compromise to the petition of the Hambukushu Traditional Authority constructed a fence on the western boundary of the Bwabwata National Park which proofed ineffective as cattle and buffalo were not effectively separated and that the recent 2014 outbreak occurred just behind the fence.
“In response to this outbreak, the ministry has decided to invoke the original plan for the location of the VCF at Tjova, which is adequately removed from the banks of the Okavango River where most of the mixing of cattle and buffalo occurs. This location is the most efficient for the control of FMD with due consideration for the buffalos and wildlife migratory path and the access of the various communities to their crop fields and water points,” stressed the PS.
The establishment of the fence is expected to be done this year and its urgency is supported by the fact that the FMD vaccine, which has been used in the past, has not given enough protection.
The FMD outbreak in the Kavango East Region’s Mukwe Constituency was detected last year March following the first one in 2010 in the same constituency.
The most recent FMD outbreak in Namibia was detected last December in the Mutjiku area of the western Zambezi Region.
Following that outbreak, the South African meat industry imposed a ban on meat from the northern communal areas (NCAs) of Namibia.
Apart from the local market, South Africa is the only market for livestock from the NCAs.