Namibia and Angola late last week signed a cooperation agreement to control, prevent and eradicate Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs) in the communal areas near the borders.
Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa and his Angolan counterpart and Afonso Pedro Canga, the Angolan Minister of Agriculture signed a Memorandum of Understanding in that regard.
Mutorwa said the most common animal diseases experienced are Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and the contagious bovine pleuropneumonia(CBPP) better known as lung sickness.
The agreement offers a policy framework enabling the two countries’ specialists and experts’ to work effectively to bring about the socio-economic development of its people.
Mutorwa said SADC region “is under obvious threat from other potentially devastating epidemic animal diseases. There is the resurgence of a highly fatal and fast spreading disease of small stock called Peste de Petit Ruminantes (PPR).”
He acknowledged that controlling animal disease on one side of the border cannot be successful, and thus the need to work together and exchange vital information.
The agreement is also meant to increase cooperation in areas of animal surveillance, development of animal health and marketing infrastructure.
Human resources development, expertise in agriculture extension and research as well as marketing of livestock products and food safety are some of the areas.
The area bordering Angola which is referred to as the Northern Communal Areas (NCA’s) is home to over 60% of the total Namibian population.
The area has over 1,5 million cattle and 1,2 small stock, among other types of livestock.
“The potential value of these resources are in access of N$10 billion and despite this huge potential, the livestock farmers in this area have not benefitted and are not benefiting significantly from their economic value,” said Mutorwa.
He argues that the main constraint is the lack of access to lucrative markets, particularly the European markets for livestock in especially the eight administrative regions of Namibia.
These are Caprivi, Kavango, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Oshana, Omusati, Kunene north and Otjozondjupa’s Tsumkwe constituency.
Canga urged the business community to play their part by doing business stating that from the Angolan side, there is a great interest to work together especially in the section of water and agriculture.
The Angolan Minister was impressed with the Central Veterinary Lab, its tools and machinery, the staff and invited them to visit his country to share their experience and help stop mistakes made in their labs.
The Angolan veterinary labs are being repaired as many were destroyed during the war.