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Namibia bans Botswana beef

Staff Writer
Namibia banned transportation through its territory of cattle and other live cloven-hoofed animals from Botswana because of the suspected outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, the Ministry of Agriculture said.

Botswana has reported that five cattle in the Gantsi District showed foot and oral lesions normally associated with the disease, the ministry said in a statement from the capital, Windhoek, today. Botswana has also closed all the country's abattoirs, it said.

"All cattle slaughter facilities, including the Botswana Meat Commission abattoirs in Lobatse and Francistown, are closed with immediate effect,'' according to the statement.
Foot-and-mouth disease is an acute, highly contagious viral infection that inflicts cloven-hoofed animals. The disease can spread over great distances with movement of infected or contaminated animals, products, objects and people, according to Canada's Agriculture Ministry.

Both Botswana and Namibia export beef to the European Union. Namibia fulfilled only 61 percent of its European Union beef export quota of 13,000 metric tons in 2007, according to

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figures from Meat Corp of Namibia Ltd, southern Africa's biggest meat processor. The UK was the biggest customer, accounting for 61 percent of European imports.

In 2005, Namibia produced 87,779 tons of beef, its biggest agricultural commodity, according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation's web site. The country has no feedlots where cattle can be fattened and exports about 150,000 calves to South Africa annually, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

The Botswana Meat Commission, the state-owned beef abbatoir, slaughtered three times as many cattle in the first five months of 2008 compared with last year when there was drought, the company said on June 15.

In March, the country budgeted P24 million or US$3 million on a vaccination campaign to control foot-and-mouth disease this year. (Bloomberg)



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