23 May 2013 10:05
WINDHOEK, 23 MAY (NAMPA) - The Agriculture Ministers of Angola and Namibia on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the control, prevention and eradication of trans-boundary animal diseases.
Speaking at the event here, Namibian Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa said the agreement will further cement collaborative and co-operative efforts in controlling and eventually eradicating animal diseases affecting both countries.
?Our role as political leaders is to provide the policy framework and an enabling policy environment under which our experts in the relevant fields of veterinary services can work effectively and efficiently to bring about the socio-economic development of our people,? he noted.
Areas of co-operation include animal disease surveillance, the control, prevention and eradication of trans-boundary diseases, mainly food-and-mouth disease (FMD) and lung sickness; the development of animal health and marketing infrastructures; human resources? development; expertise in agricultural extension and research; human, material and technological resources; the marketing of livestock and livestock products and food safety; and preparing dossiers for submission to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) for a declaration of freedom from FMD and lung sickness.
Mutorwa raised the concern that trans-boundary animal diseases, among many other constraints, continue to hamstring the socio-economic development and progress of people, especially as it concerns daily livelihoods.
The spreading and movement of diseases neither respect international borders nor require official travelling documents or expensive modes of transport, he added.
The area bordering Angola and the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) is home to over 60 per cent of the total Namibian population.
In addition, the area has over 1.5 million cattle and 1.2 million small livestock, among other types of livestock.
The potential value of these resources is in excess of N.dollars 10 billion.
Mutorwa said despite this huge potential, livestock farmers in this area have not benefitted, and are not benefitting significantly from their economic value.
The main constraint has been and continues to be the lack of access to lucrative markets, particularly the European markets for livestock from the Caprivi, Kavango, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Oshana, Omusati, Kunene (north) and Otjozondjupa (Tsumkwe constituency) regions.
?The collective desire of our respective governments with regard to the management of these diseases is to eventually eradicate them. Our countries share a common border, where communities share age-old socio-cultural traditional, family linkages, in which livestock play an important role.
We do realise that controlling animal diseases on one side of the border cannot be successful, unless our two countries work together,? he added.
On his part, Angolan Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, Afonso Canga echoed similar sentiments, noting that his Government is committed to controlling, preventing and eradicating trans-boundary diseases to bring tranquillity, peace and political stability.
?The MoU will create a platform to develop activities in a better way to benefit communities along our border,? he added.
Canga and his delegation are on a three-day visit to Namibia.
In addition to the signing ceremony, the Angolan delegation was expected to visit the veterinary laboratories here, as well as the Namibia Dairies of the Ohlthaver and List Group of Companies on Thursday.
They will depart for Angola on Friday.